Seattle Subsonic - September, 2010

Download A New Shabazz Palaces Track

When emails mysteriously show up in your inbox from “palaceer lazaro”, your eyes pop out of your head and you wonder “will this celebrity spam never cease?” Turns out it wasn’t a scam, and the man behind new Sub Pop signees Shabazz Palaces really did send me (and many others) a link to a free download of a new song. It appears he sent it to those who had bought his wildly successful debut double EP. Apparently it’s for some online music magazine or something. I don’t know and I don’t care (ok, slight update: it’s a Seattle zine, I Want You. I guess you can get it around town. I’ve never seen it though.)

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All I know is that if there was ever a hip hop track that sounded like a haunted mansion, this is it. Slow and low, that is the tempo:

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“Barksdale Corners” on palaceer pusher beat circa now – by Shabazz Palaces

Posted by LB | Filed in MP3s on September 13th, 2010| Comment now »

 

The Dilemma With Arcade Fire

Today, I’d like to ruminate on a personal issue that I hope some of you can relate to. You might have noticed, if you peruse the music headlines now and again, that Arcade Fire‘s third album The Suburbs hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart the week it debuted (8/10). Number one! For all I know, it’s still sitting there (I don’t subscribe to Billboard, thankfully). It also hit No. 1 in the UK, Canada, Ireland and Portugal. The band’s second album, Neon Bible, reached as far as No. 2 on that same chart back in 2007, so upper echelon territory is not necessarily a new thing for the orchestral popping Boss-rockers from Montreal.

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But what—in my mind—began back during their initial Funeral tour in 2004, the popularity of Arcade Fire has only escalated with each new album at an alarming rate. They’re playing at Key Arena in a few weeks for chrissakes. And, in the grand scheme of non-LB things, that’s a good thing: a talented band on an “independent” label making meaningful music that the masses can’t get enough of. It’s a small slice of Utopia. But when I boil it down to my personal biases regarding bands and their popularity and my subsequent perception of them, I run into a predicament. A predicament I’ve had a tough time reconciling.

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Let me explain. I have this internal switch that’s triggered the moment (or moments) a band I’ve invested emotionally in “gets big”. I actually don’t like to admit it sometimes, but an appearance on TV or inflating record sales can often be a turn off for me. A “new, streamlined sound” with “pop sensibilities” makes me cringe. Ever the loyal Taurus, how is it that I can turn my back so frivolously, so casually, so flippantly? I write about musicians I like, so shouldn’t I be happy when they finally reel in that bigger paycheck? It happened with Modest Mouse. It happened with the Shins. It might be happening with Interpol.* In my eyes, these bands altered their MO to appeal to a larger audience, to transform in such a way that more people would hear them. As it is, I’m not exactly cool with that, as is probably the case with most diehards.

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You see, I’m not a big huge fan of Neon Bible. Never was. Oh sure, it’s a fine, authoritative testament, but it had nowhere near the impact on me that Funeral had. I thought it anticlimactic and a bit heavy handed. I expected less out of the band going forward, and with their fame skyrocketing, I did what any stilted, overly sensitive music fan would do. I shrugged myself silly and said, to no one in particular, “Good luck with that.” But when I come to The Suburbs, my problematic trigger switch fails to fire. I honestly don’t know if I can say that Arcade Fire “altered their MO”—maybe they did, maybe they didn’t—but perhaps they’ve somehow transcended this imaginary tipping point I’ve invoked. Because as luck and the universe would have it, The Suburbs is an exceptional, moving record, despite the fact that it’s currently blasting out of Best Buy speakers all over Manitoba. It’s graceful and intense and brooding and raw and rollicking and flawlessly composed. In fact, I can’t stop listening to it.

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Of course I can’t, with the band’s popularity higher than ever, with me and my shrugging and my non-expectant poo-pooing. My blatant adoration for the band has utterly been reinstated in the face of prolific record sales and my quandary is again at hand. But how can I shun a band whose music I hold so dearly? How can I ignore such a poignant, persuasive, well-arranged record? The answer is, I can’t. I CAN’T. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I HAVE TO LOVE A REALLY, REALLY POPULAR BAND. And for once, that’s just fine and dandy.

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* I’ll refrain from any nuanced stories about how these bands disappointed me. I still “care for them”, by and large, but the relationship broke somewhere along the line.

Posted by LB | Filed in Album Reviews, Rants on September 13th, 2010| Comment now »

 

Drew Grow and The Pastors' Wives Make The World A Better Place

Last night at the Columbia City Theater Drew Grow and The Pastors’ Wives had their vinyl release show. Thats right vinyl, not CD (more on that in a bit).The Crowd went silent as they took the stage, most people there had seen them perform before. Some had even come prepared with extra tissues to wipe their eyes. Seeing Drew Grow and The Pastors’ Wives play is seeing a band bare their soul on stage. I find it hard to put into words what their live show is like, its just very personal. Every song comes from the heart. To have a Seattle crowd just shut up and listen just shows you how they move their audience.  Playing mostly songs from their new Self titled release while sprinkling in a few old favorites they never missed a beat, and kept everyone there wanting more. The highlight of the evening was Drew’s solo performance of “Premonition”(see an Iphone video of that HERE). He never sang into the microphone during the whole song he just belted out the lyrics, and the crowd sang right back at him for the back up lyrics. It was truly one of the most moving moments of this year in music for me. Also during the set the stage was graced by Kelli Schaefer and Shenandoah Davis, Kelli came in to sing back up vocals on a few songs while Shenandoah brought her accordion and played piano on a few songs. They were a wonderful added bonus to the nights already stellar performance.
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So as i mentioned before, they were celebrating the release of their new record on vinyl. The limited Self Titled album that was released on Amigo/Amiga records, which is Jeremiah Haydens label (he is their drummer), came on White vinyl. It is a beautiful record. As of this time there are no plans (to my knowledge) to release it on CD though the vinyl does come with the digital download card which also comes with two extra songs. Having the album only on vinyl might turn off some people from buying it, but it shouldn’t. This is the best way to listen to this record. Most of the tracks were recorded in Drew’s home studio aka his basement/living room/kitchen. The way it was recorded and put out into the world really speaks to the music itself. Their gritty rock and gospel sound, I would like to think of it as “Epic Alt Gospel” are made that much better by the quality of the vinyl. This is an album you want to listen to on high in your headphones. You can order a copy HERE.
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If you missed this show and want to see them play, they are doing another album release show in their hometown of Portland,OR on September 24th @ Mississippi Studios, Opening that show will be The Head and The Heart and Fences. This is a show really worth driving down to Portland for. More info and to get tickets to that show go HERE

Posted by dpphoto | Filed in Album Reviews, Music, Show Critic on September 12th, 2010| 1 Comment »

 

Hot Bodies In Motion & Allen Stone CD Release @ the Croc Tonight!! [9/10]

Band Picture The weather blows, but if you need a pick me up catch Hot Bodies In Motion tonight. Everytime I see them play its a fun show and the crowd gets moving; might be the pick me up needed. They’ve got a killer indie blues rock sound which is a nice change if too much indie folk is starting to numb your mind.
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The CD release is for singer/song writer/guitarist Allen Stone who has a killer voice and grittier outlook and lyrics than most. Haven’t seen him before, but I’m always impressed with CD release shows and he has quite a following.
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ALLEN STONE (CD RELEASE)
Hot Bodies in Motion
Brett Hite
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The Crocodile – 8PM
$10 – 21+

Posted by Tom.Blodgett | Filed in Seattle Music Scene on September 10th, 2010| Comment now »

 

Tallest Man On Earth Blows Minds

Last night man, whew. The Tallest Man on Earth was… Epic. No, monumental, heroic…Im done with the synonyms. Tallest Man on Earth at Neumos, last night, was a killer show.

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So I roll up at just about the beginning of S. Carey’s set and they are blowing the crowd away. This guy is carting on tour with him about three dudes, a gigantic bass, a huge xylophone, a few keyboards, among many other, more portable, instruments. His sound is amazing, there was one particularly memorable moment in the song Action, where Carey was just wailing violently on what looked like a side drum, and…whew… it was just mind-blowing. Carey had the ability to draw the crowd and keep them enraptured on one song (particularly on Mothers, check that business out) then let them go with a slower ballad. It was like this crazy orchestrated mood swing. But they were good, and even on the slower numbers where the fickle crowd would wane and the chatter got louder I was completely enthralled (dreaming of a pair of headphones). S. Carey certainly proved himself as a musician to pay attention to. Between his stellar live performance and his moving compositions he definitely opened my eyes and made me pay attention. He also captured the attention of Kristian Mattson, who snuck up in the corner to admire S.Carey during his set.

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So S. Carey finish and the excitement at the sold out Neumos is palpable. Once all the gigantic instruments were towed away, a chair was set in the middle of the stage with an arrangement of guitars close by and a microphone. Then strolls up Tallest Man on Earth’s Kristian Matsson in his tight jeans and adorableness and he just snapped that excited tension in half by opening his mouth. Each song one right after the other played with so much passion and fervency it was impossible not to be entranced by this guy! He would stop and mumble to the crowd – which gave me my only Dylan reference of the night, because I could not understand a damn word he was saying when he talked. But when he sang, psh, give me a break, when he sang it was like the universe opened up and swallowed itself… That beautiful. He started a dance hall on King of Spain, he brought tears on Love is All, there was a sing-a-long on The Gardener, and he wowed with his “never before played live or released, I have to practice really quick, so don’t clap yet” song.

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From what I could understand during his chat sesh, this was TMOE’s third time playing in Seattle and he was stoked because he did not bust a string yet. He had mentioned something about being super jet lagged, though it did not show in his performance because he kept telling the crowd “two more then thats it” and about six more later he meant it. Through every single song there was a level of showmanship that affirmed his greatness and dedication. The crowd was just loving him, and he was just feeding off the amazing energy of the crowd. During his performance I had that epiphany that this was the show, you know THE show that all of those in attendance will remember because it was perfectly intimate and there won’t be another like it. TMOE is going to get huge, his talent is undeniable and he has that lovable persona that belongs to a man devoted to his craft. I’m going to always remember last night’s show, thats for damn sure, its going down in the diary. Huge props to Neumos for getting him in right now, and for that sound! God damn! Way to go Neumos that sound was perfection.

Posted by Dirty Sanchez | Filed in Show Critic on September 10th, 2010| Comment now »

 

Melrose Market Street Festival – Sunday Sept 12th

This might be worth your gander on Sunday. If you haven’t already, it’s a great chance to check out the awesome new Melrose Market on the western slope of Capitol Hill (up the street from the Paramount Theatre). Only a portion of the Melrose Project, it’s a well-thought urban market that boasts sustainable, farm fresh restaurants (Homegrown, Sitka & Spruce), an artisan cheese shop (The Calf & Kid), an organic butcher (Rain Shadow Meats), fresh flowers and produce from the Snoqualmie River valley (Marigold and Mint), and a wine shop selling local seafood (Bar Ferdinand). Next door Velouria Boutique & Gallery has fashion, and Sonic Boom Records has music.

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This Sunday, they’ll try to stimulate the local economy with your local dollars using a BBQ, a beer garden, a fashion show, an impromptu farmer’s market, and, of course music. City darlings Head Like A Kite play at 5pm, preceded by the Ghost of Kyle Bradford at 3pm and New Roman Times at 1pm. The weather will probably be crappy, but maybe not!
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Here’s a recent news interview of HLAK in Guam. For reals!
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Posted by LB | Filed in Seattle Music Scene, Venues on September 9th, 2010| Comment now »

 

Netherfriends at the JewelBox

Check out Netherfriends at the JewelBox this Sunday. I have reasons for this demand/request/recommendation:

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1. I have heard from a reliable source that the Netherfriends is quite the live show. (The source also caught a show in which the Netherfriends was just Shawn Rosenblatt solo, using some mad looping skillz, where as word on the street is this time around there will be a drummer… intriguing- no?)

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2. I have yet to catch a show at the Jewelbox but it looks like a spectacular venue. All swanky and intimate.

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3. Its Sunday night, there is not much going on to occupy time.

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Do it.

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What: Netherfriends, with The Webelos

Where: JewelBox, Rendezvous

When: Sunday, Sept 9 @ 10

How: not quite sure yet- I’ll get back to you on the dough-factor.

Posted by Dirty Sanchez | Filed in Music, Recommended Events on September 8th, 2010| 1 Comment »

 

This Beat Is A Connection

On a recent sojourn to Sweden, I didn’t listen to very much music. I decided it was time to unplug, forget about the internet and the daily grind for awhile, enjoy the world and soak in some Scandinavia. I caught up on books and sleep and museums. And yes, I’ll admit that music is part of that daily “grind”, despite how much I love it. Scouring blogs and music sites and listening constantly are activities I pursue freely and by extension not things I feel compelled to complain about. However, I do feel the need to ignore once in awhile. Brains need a break, from whatever it is that occupies them.

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But, of course, I wasn’t able to completely ignore my digital music player. With two 10-hour plane rides, a few multi-hour train rides, and hotel rooms with no music source to speak of, 100% abstinence would’ve been foolish, if not downright inconceivable. Without question, the source I immediately went to in an indulgent moment of weakness was Surf Noir, a two-month old EP from local electro-jammers Beat Connection. The duo is Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger, a couple of UW students who’ve crafted one of the better electronic releases this year, hands down. You’ve probably heard “In The Water”, “Sunburn” or “Silver Screen” on KEXP, if you’re into the radio thing. If you enjoyed Seek Magic from Memory Tapes, Settings from Tanlines or In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy, chances are high that you will dig on Surf Noir as well.

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Consider “In The Water”, an ebullient dance cut that shimmers and shimmies with crystalline  guitar stabs, a chopped up reggaeton beat, bleached vocals and an 8-bit bass line. A flock of seagulls welcomes you to its beachy scene, and a solar-powered synth explosion bridges the gap. I am seriously addicted. Also consider “Theme From Yours Truly” a sultry South Beach neu-disco techno tune. The first half is woozy and anticipatory, the second half is high-wattage sex-rave. That escalation at 2:27 is a thing of beauty, the beat tantalizing until it’s upon you, a pure connection. DAMN, a shadow repeats. SO CRAZY, a sexy voice echoes. It might remind me slightly of J Lo’s “Waiting For Tonight”—I’M SAYING THAT’S A GOOD THING. Beat Connection’s composition, of course, has a depth and complexity that that song lacks (in addition to the stunted singing career of una diva latina). The remainder of the tracks are worth checking out as well, especially “Sunburn” and “Silver Screen”.

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Thanks to the band (and Bandcamp), you can download the whole EP for zero dollars. I’ve embedded the player below, so you can sample it first. I can’t recommend this enough.
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Beat Connection plays at the Vera Project with Magic Kids and Candy Claws Thursday, September 9th.

Posted by LB | Filed in Album Reviews on September 7th, 2010| Comment now »

 

New Starfucker Song Stuck On Repeat (Repeat)

About 30 seconds into hearing this new track from the beloved Portland synth-pop band, and I already wanted it to be done with so I could start it over again. And again and again and again. I love it, and if you’ve read this blog at all the past few years, you know I haven’t been shy about my nerd-boner for Starfucker and their lighthearted radiance, spaceified shimmering soundscapes, and their electrifying live shows. Heck, I even defended their ill-fated (and retrospectively ill-conceived) name change last year.

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By the way, the band is no longer with Badman Records, having recently signed to Illinois’s Polyvinyl Records. A new single is par for the course and “Julius” is an utter hole-in-one. A blinding light of an electro-intro gives way Josh Hodges’ most intoxicating vocal turn yet, all sleepy, buried in a dream and cascading into thrills and chills. It’s absolutely paralyzing. The song’s basically one long glassy synth jam—elongated with some stellar stuttered drum clips—and it sparkles like the afternoon sun. October 19th at Neumos.

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“Julius” by Starfucker

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Hat tip to the Weekly.

Posted by LB | Filed in MP3s on September 3rd, 2010| Comment now »

 

Yes! "Girl in the Window" From Unnatural Helpers

Didju know: YouTube (and Vimeo) are the new MTV? I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw a music video on TV was (correction: I can! In Copenhagen last week.), but I watch them on the internet ALL THE TIME. Hence all the posting. There’s something odd about that that I can’t quite place my finger on, but oh well, here’s the new video for “Girl In The Window” by Unnatural Helpers. I’m psyched cuz a) it’s my favorite song off Cracked Love and Other Drugs and b) it’s the Friday of a 3-day weekend. I just love how Dean Whitmore shouts the title “the girl in the windooooow!”

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For the video’s part, there’s some Peeping Tom stop motion animation and, of course, a girl in the window.
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Hardly Art has the .mp3 for free if you’re so inclined.

Posted by LB | Filed in MP3s, Videos on September 3rd, 2010| Comment now »