Tonight in Seattle:  

must-see show

Noise for the Needy 2014: the last goodbye

If you haven’t heard the news already, we hate to be the ones to break it to you. But here it goes – Noise for the Needy is ending. Not for the month or this year, like FOREVER. This Friday and Saturday will be the 10th and final installment of this epically generous and wonderful charity music fest that has continuously chosen to feature local music across all genres. 10 years, 350 artists, $125,000 raised, 20 + beneficiaries. Forget baseball, those are some impressive stats.

NFTN is going balls-out into retirement, giving Seattle one of their best lineups as a goodbye present. And Ballard is lucky enough to play host this go 'round with shows spread around several venues, including the Tractor and Conor Byrne. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about the list of talent participating in NFTN 2014, so I’m gonna simplify and focus on some of my favorites:

The Helio Sequence makes reliable, nice, pretty music. That is not a bad thing. Their 2012 album, Negotiations, is a go-to for a variety of clutch situations – first date, housewarming dinner party, or Sunday afternoon parent brunch. I, for one, appreciate consistency of form and the comfort of delicate alt-pop surrounding me like a warm hug. Big and glittery and stuffed full with soaring choruses, their songs have more mesmerizing appeal than Sharknado.

more...

Latest comment by: mathewforend: "I hope I can manage my time and go there to be enjoyed. Thanks for the schedule and details of the shows. Thanks spin palace gambling "

Recommended shows TONIGHT and TOMORROW: the premiere of NEW Ken Stringfellow music with FM Collective!

FM Collective

Did I tell you guys about how this has been the best summer EVER? And the fall is looking pretty boss too. There are several reasons that my summer has been so rockin', but a lot of it has been the music -- in large part due to my beloved Posies returning to the PNW and giving me a ton of oppotunuties to see them play live {in various incarnations}. 

And so, my imaginary friends, it is with great pleasure that I gift you the first listen to this lush new tune from Mr. Ken Stringfellow in collaboration with FM Collective, "The One That Matters." This is the kind of song that sighs are meant for. I'm probably being a little dramatic -- but I swear to you, this track is simply beautiful.

more...

Recommended Show: The Sounds at Neumos {3/19}

You guys! One of my favorite Swedish Bands, The Sounds, are coming to Seattle soon!!!

This fun indie rock band has had my attention since their 2003 debut album, Living in America, and 10 years later, they’re still making me “Shake Shake Shake” with their newest release, Weekend. And as if their awesome blend of rock, new wave, and pop wasn’t enough to make me love them, lead singer Maja Ivarsson also participated in a hilarious song and video for Snakes on a Plane … which still makes me laugh every single time I watch it.

They’re playing Neumos on Wednesday, March 19 with LA-pop band Blondfire, and I’m betting this will be one of the only shows in Seattle where the whole room will be dancing (For real. EVERYONE will dance. They won't have any other choice). Come with me and dust off your best moves!!



{The Sounds with Blondfire | Wednesday, 3/19 | Neumos | $20 advance | Doors at 7 | all ages}

Don't miss: Tractor Tavern's 20th anniversary celebration, featuring The Maldives {this weekend!}

If Ballard had a soundtrack, The Maldives would surely be it. Our favorite good old boys have played SeafoodFest, KEXP’s Ballard Hood to Hood party, and the venerable Tractor Tavern over fifty times. OMG, fifty! So fair warning to the new bougie Ballard, they’ll be leading a two night hipster hootenanny this Friday and Saturday to celebrate the Tractor’s 20th Anniversary. It’s time to get dirty.

The Tractor remains a bar for the masses where PBR tallboys are the house specialty and mixed drinks don’t come with more than three ingredients (one of those being the ice). And we love it like that. Dance hall hospitality collides with punk rock enthusiasm to create the best type of dingy beer soaked venue. And while the graffiti covering the bathroom walls provides enough entertainment in itself, the Tractor’s real draw has always been the stellar talent they continue to book. Known for keeping the alt-country / Americana musical flame aglow here in Seattle, everyone from Wanda Jackson, Old 97’s, El Vez, Dale Watson, and Evan Dando have taken the stage. C’mon, where else in Seattle can you square dance every week under a garland of old cowboy boots? We’ve got our very own honky tonk and that’s definitely something to celebrate!

more...

Don't miss: Damien Jurado at the Neptune {1/17}

{Damien Jurado / Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son}

Rejoice, fans of the Saint Bartlett > Maraqopa trajectory: I have heard the new Damien Jurado album, and it is good.

As we reported back in October, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son is here (yeah, he's talking about Jesus -- don't worry, it's a rad trip; take a drag on what Father John Misty had to say about it) and with it, a release show at the Neptune this Friday. As the first official show endorsement of 2014, I would highly, highly recommend not missing this performance. Here's why: the first time I heard Brothers and Sisters, I immediately tried to figure out how to get some peyote, so I could go jam out in the desert someplace with "Silver Donna" fed through a transistor radio on infinite repeat, eventually disappearing completely.

Yeah -- it's really accesible, but it's that kind of record.

With the helping hand of Richard Swift, Damien Jurado continues to expand his consciousness -- and seemingly, his alignment with the art he wants to make, not the art that's expected of him -- with his most psych-tinged record yet. And while I'm still very much present, typing at this keyboard without said substance or desert experience coming to pass in real-time, it is crystal clear to me that this is for sure a trip that I want to be on. The very touchable, dimensional reality is that Jurado can go from a song like "Go First" to something like this:

and whoever has that kind of incredible range of work in them also has me at the front of the line, for all performances and record pre-orders, forever and ever. (Amen.)

more...

Recommended Shows: A very imaginary holiday weekend at the Volterra Drawing Room {12/20 and 12/21}

The holidays are in full swing, and what better way to get into the spirit than to spend the evening in a cozy venue with a bunch of awesome local bands doing acoustic sets? My buddies Marco Collins and Michelle Quisenberry TOTALLY have you covered! 

Marco has curated an Acoustic Christmas in Ballard: a great selection of amazing musical talents playing two intimate Christmas shows next weekend at the Volterra Drawing Room! Tickets are $15 for standing-room GA, or $25 for reserved seats. AND: you can make a reservation at Volterra restaurant for a pre-show dinner for only $30 (trust me. the food, it is good.) awesome, awesome, and more awesome!  

The holiday-tastic line-up is as follows: 

Friday Night {12/20}

KRIS ORLOWSKI
BRADEN BLAKE (Super Deluxe)
BEN CARSON (Hot Bodies in Motion)
NOAH GUNDERSEN
EXOHXO

Saturday Night {12/21}

HOLLIS WONG-WEAR
HOBOSEXUAL
ADRA BOO (Fly Moon Royalty)
KATIE KATE
WANZ

{Acoustic Christmas in Ballard | Friday, December 20 & Saturday, December 21 | Doors at 7pm, Showtime at 8pm | All Ages | Volterra Drawing Room, 5407 Ballard Ave NW | $15 standing GA | $25 Reserved Seating}

Recommended Show: The Redwood Plan, Black Swedes and The West at The Sunset {11/30}

You guys! I found the perfect thing to shake you out of your Turkey/Tofurkey coma on Saturday night: a trifecta of awesomeness at The Sunset!

The Redwood Plan, fronted by the always-amazing Lesli Wood, is hitting the stage along with Black Swedes (who I have fallen all over before), and The West (who released a pretty kick-ass video a few months ago). Black Swedes is also releasing their new album, “Phase” that evening: a poppy, moody tangle of lushness that will suck you in and wreck you in all the good ways.

It's only $8! Go, go, go, go (Green Light) Go. 

{The Redwood Plan | The West | Black Swedes | Sunset Tavern | Saturday, November 30 | Doors: 9:30pm, Show: 10pm | $8 | 21+}

Don't miss: Quasi at the Tractor {Friday}

Okay. Seriously, can we talk about this for a minute, imaginary friends? Quasi are playing The Tractor on Friday. QUASI. TRACTOR. FRIDAY. FUCK.

Janet Weiss AND Sam Coomes AND that almost-untouchable, best-pairing-since-chocolate-and-peanut-butter vibe, AND a new album (Mole City), and I think our faces just got rocked off before we could even a parking spot in Ballard.

Here's what the press release has to say about it:

Mole City is not in the tradition or deviating from the tradition -- it is the tradition. After 2 decades of launching drums, guitars and pianos through the shifting interzones between harmony and chaos (moonlighting along the way with the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag, Elliott Smith, Built to Spill and a long list of others [Ed. note: LIKE SLANG]), Quasi are a genre of their own -- they write songs in the style of Quasi, and Mole City is the Quasi Song Book: Parlor Sing-alongs for the Last Century.

Now in their 20th year as a band, and a two-piece once again, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss hand-deliver the double album/Liberation Cookbook/Encyclopedia of Kicking Ass, Mole City, to those of us who still care about well-built, homemade objects crafted with integrity, spirit, fire, and skill. In other words, those of us who don’t fit into a world where the empty noise of crass capitalism, slick branding, and high profile hot pants have drowned out nearly all other concerns. Mole City, their ninth album, is a set of anthems for the refuseniks, Molotov tossers, pacifist soldiers and bug-eyed freaks, and Quasi is the band playing as the Titanic of what was once Independent Music goes down.

Amen to that! Get your tickets (if there's any left by now) at The Tractor's (new?) site here. We'll see you in the front row!

{9:30p / 21+ / $15 adv. Hobosexual and Blues Control open.}

XVIII Eyes releases new album, plays Chop Suey TONIGHT

{XVIII Eyes / by Adrien Leavitt}

I've had the newest release from XVIII Eyes {fka Eighteen Individual Eyes} on repeat since the end of last month, trying to find a way to describe the wash of feelings I get from each start-to-finish listen. As a result, I've got notes about how the sound is delivered through a legit indie rock / alt.electro-synth modernized Cure-esque filter, and how a stunning movie-soundscape of capital-R Relationship flashes through my brain with the meter of heartbeat-synced percussion, and how those clear, clean vocals both mirror and constrast piercing guitar work that hits me right in the center of my person.

While those words do, of course, help frame out the personal experience I'm having with this record, rather than attempt to deliver it all into some concise essay about song-feelings, I'm just going to link I'll Keep You here and let you see / hear for yourself:

Thankfully, the vibe of both the album and the fundamental shift in XVIII Eyes' paradigm has been encapsulated in a most excellent descriptive from the album's official press release, excerpted here:

The transformation to something more accessible and decisive – essentially, the tapping of a pop vein - is mirrored in the band’s sophomore release, I’ll Keep You (self-released November 12, 2013). In a guitar-driven pop adventure through sound and space, XVIII Eyes reveal that the dark, brooding figure, the subject in the band’s 2012 debut Unnovae Nights, emerges from the bog turning out to be perfectly human. A handsome stranger that says “hello,” takes you by the hand and says, “Let’s hit it.”   

Triumph, however, is held in delicate balance. Songs like “I’ll Keep You” and “San Francisco” wear themselves inside out as the haunting, hypnotic pulse of the Wood/King rhythm section pushes Barber’s siren warnings (“Your heart just ain’t cold enough / to get caught up in this”, “Now you know what criminals are made of”), but are pulled just out of foreboding reach by Aaron’s sanguine guitar. The commanding psych drive of “SUN150” shifts pace and carries an urgent message of steadfast romance heard throughout the album.

more...

Don't miss: Wavves and King Tuff at the Neptune Theater {Saturday, 10/19}

Wavves was formed in 2008 as the project of San Diego's Nathan Williams, after he quit his record store job. He recorded his first two releases -- 2008’s Wavves and 2009’s Wavvves -- in his bedroom, and both were somewhat lo-fi and fuzz-filled. (The distortion on the albums is so overriding, it’s almost hard to make out most of the lyrics, but despite the quality there are some good melodies hidden in those songs.) The albums received enough blog hype to garner the band spots on that summer's festival circuit, a small success that wound up leading to an unfortunate incident in 2009 at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain: Williams had taken a cocktail of Valium and ecstasy and had a meltdown on stage, fighting with his drummer and the crowd before ending the show and canceling the rest of the band’s European tour. What some thought at the time a cautionary tale of a young musician getting too much hype too soon turned out to be a turning point for Williams and for his musical project. Instead of devolving and letting his issues consume him, he started taking his work and his music more seriously, and doubled down on his efforts.

Following the public meltdown and subsequent loss of his drummer, he re-formed the backing band with the late Jay Reatard’s former band; drummer Billy Hayes and bassist Stephen Pope. Together they took their newly formed lineup out of the bedroom and into an actual hi-fi studio, and along with producer Dennis Herring recorded some of their best material to date, 2010’s King of the Beach. With it came a departure from most of the lo-fi fuzz and snotty skate-punk of their previous efforts -- now, Wavves had evolved their sound to include more accessible surf-pop gems alongside some dense psychedelic and occasional synth based songs.

more...