Archive | November, 2009

They’re Ridiculously Awesome.

28 Nov

(This was posted on PopWreckoning this morning.)

As the first part to a tribute to Northwest music, the Showbox lit up Pike Place Friday night with local favorites The Lonely Forest of Anacortes, and Telekinesis and The Globes of Seattle. Just to say how much Seattle loves their locals – even before the doors opened up, the line curled around the block as horse-drawn carriages rode by on the rare rain-free night.

The Globes were up first. Lacking a record deal, but with nothing lacking in the talent department, The Globes were a great way to start the show – bringing in a mixture of shoegazing guitar rock and raw indie pop. Guitarist Kyle Musselwhite provided almost Thom Yorke-like vocals next to lead vocalist Erik Walters’ high-energy wails, bassist Sean McCotter’s low-key vibe and drummer Marcus Ourada’s excellent beats. They were just experienced enough to have the charisma to hold the room, but with just a little more stage time, they’d be just as charming as the two bands that followed. And with their first LP coming out soon, The Globes are one of Seattle’s emerging indie acts that show the promise of what our region has to offer the next few years.

After The Globes’ short half-hour set, Telekinesis came to set up their equipment, with one rare addition. My friends and I were standing right off to the left of center by the stage, and I swore Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie was tuning his Rickenbacker. I turned to my friend and asked, “Is that Chris Walla?”

“No, it can’t be. It’s gotta be some guy that looks totally like him.”

“That’s Chris Walla. I’m not kidding. Look.”

And I must tell you; my friend is a diehard Death Cab for Cutie fan, so she of all people should know who and who isn’t Chris Walla. But this time, I was right. Chris joined Michael Lerner (a.k.a. Telekinesis) and his touring band for this one-night Seattle engagement. Just because. Lerner later mentioned Chris as one of the people who was responsible for his record being released. He said that, “he made me write this record.” Signed to Merge Records in early 2009, Lerner has been touring for most of the year with David and Jodie Broecker and Chris Staples as his live band, and the unconventional stage lineup threw me off a bit, but made the night more interesting. Lerner sat at the drumkit as he sang on most of the songs, and the unexpected cameo by Walla excited the crowd like they should be on a Friday night at 10 p.m.

I would have liked to have heard “Awkward Kisser,” just cause it’s such a damn cute song, but Lerner played the lot of the songs off his eponymous debut released in April – a few highlights being “Tokyo,” “Coast of Carolina,” and “Foreign Room.” My sister especially liked “Calling All Doctors,” with its distinctive hook of a repeated “twitchin, twitchin.” There were a couple songs where Lerner got up off the drums and stood with his acoustic guitar by himself while the rest of the band lounged on the floor. “I Saw Lightning” was a perfect example of a Seattle ballad – heartfelt and not overdone. Like one of those songs you can sing to your girlfriend at an open mic and not sound too amateurish.

And I must say how epic David Broecker’s mustache was. It truly was amazing.

Right on schedule, headliners the Lonely Forest graced the stage at just after 11 p.m., right as my feet started to ache. The Showbox had become even more crowded than when we first arrived, which again shows how much buzz this band has gotten with the locals. Lead guitarist and vocalist John Van Deusen actually started off the set with “can I get a shout out to Anacortes!” and the room threw up their arms and cheered with pride.

The Lonely Forest manages to bring together emotional piano pop with heavy, complex indie rock, without sounding generic in the slightest. Their newest album We Sing the Body Electric, released on Burning Building Records earlier this year, is easily one of the most dynamic and, dare I say, best of the year. Van Deusen, along with guitarist Tony Ruland, bassist Eric Sturgeon and drummer Bradyn Krueger started off the holidays just how they should be – full of vigor. By halfway through their set the Lonely Forest had the whole room jumping to the sound of Ruland’s badass guitar licks and Van Deusen’s weathered voice with tracks from We Sing the Body Electric, “Two Pink Pills,” and “Tomato Soup.” They also played “Soil Silt and Clay,” from their first LP, 2007’s Nuclear Winter, a concept album about the world ending and the protagonist’s escape from destruction through space travel.

One of my favorite songs of the night was “They’re On To Something,” a fast and guitar-heavy track with a shy piano line and the perfect beat for the lively crowd to dance around to. But it wasn’t until towards the end of the night where most of the people surrounding me on the teeming floor sang along to “We Sing In Time,” the undeniably catchy pop song with a killer building hook. Once the band stepped off stage, people immediately started shouting for an encore, and as it’s become standard practice, The Lonely Forest walked back out for not one – but two – songs for an encore.

You’d never think that Van Deusen spent time in rehab and Ruland almost died after a stint in the hospital two years ago. But then again, with how much passion The Lonely Forest has both on their record and in a live setting, one has to wonder where they get their fire.

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Penguins!

24 Nov

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More news of the good nature

20 Nov

I also got a spot on the guest list for another gig in Seattle, this one on 11/27 at the Showbox at the Market. Featuring these bands:


The Lonely Forest


Telekinesis


The Globes

The Showbox at the Market. November 27th. $10 advance, $12 DOS. Be there or be square. I will be. For free, with my photo passes BITCHES!

And btw, I did get a +1 for the Rooney/Tally Hall/Crash Kings show, so that’s another good thing that happened in the last couple days. I finally got the contact information for Deck the Hall Ball, so hopefully *crosses fingers* he gets back to me soon about a possible list spot. Good god that would be awesome. I’m pretty sure I’d piss my pants if that happened.

Seriously.

And 107.7 The End is doing more Deck tix giveaways this week at 9am, 2pm, and 5pm every day starting monday morning. Cause by now, you know that the tickets are sold out. Sadly enough. But come on, it’s Muse. I would be disgusted if it hadn’t sold out as quickly as it did.

Mkay, that’s all I had to say. I was thinking of going to see Brandi Carlile tomorrow night at a free in-store at Easy Street, but I have far too much to do and I didn’t feel like braving the ridiculous friday afternoon rush hour. And two shows within a week’s time is pretty good for me.

Off to listen to brain-orgasm-inducing live recordings of Animal Collective I acquired two days ago. God I love them. If you haven’t noticed that already.


❤ Abby

Guess what, y’all?

16 Nov

I got a spot on the guest list for a show featuring:

Rooney

Tally Hall

Crash Kings

I know it’s not that special considering all the guest spots my fellow PopWreckers have acquired, but this feels pretty damn cool.

I am finally legit. Hells yeah.

El Corazon, Wednesday, Dec. 2. $13 in advance, $15 DOS. Be there. It’ll rock. And I’m ON THE LIST.

<3<3<3<3

Oh happy monday.

And there's a chance a certain member of a certain band I like will be at the show too. And that would be awesome. That would be the coolest thing EVER. I'm just glad that it's the week BEFORE finals. And Deck the Hall Ball is the week AFTER finals. December is going to be the greatest month ever.

No wait, December through March will be the best FOUR months ever. Dec – awesome shows, christmas, winter break. Jan – new Spoon record, still winter break. Feb – NEW FUCKING WE ARE SCIENTISTS RECORD. Mar – spring break, new Frightened Rabbit record. April will probably suck, but May will be better (21st!)

Alright, off to do homework. Woot for waiting until the last day of the weekend to finish homework!

❤ Abby

Mkay. I’ve got a plan.

14 Nov

See these bands?:





Well, they’re all playing Deck the Hall Ball this year, and I’m super stoked for it. The one problem facing me right now is the price of the tickets. $44.50 isn’t all that bad to be honest, but GD Ticketbastard feels like charging us all huge convenience charges. $56 with the fees for christ’s sakes. Seriously. I’m hoping to get a press pass for this amazing shindig being held at the WaMu Theater on 12/15, but I feel like for my own insurance, I need to buy a ticket. I really do.

And the tickets go on sale to the general public very soon – specifically at 10a today (11/14), and I’ve heard that there are a small number of tickets left. Not sure what “small” is in comparison to the total number of tickets, but if you didn’t get them during the pre-sale yesterday, like I didn’t, get them soon. And most likely as you read this, get them NOW. But, if you don’t, 107.7 The End will be having contests giving away tickets most days of the week.

This is where my plan comes in. I’m gonna buy tickets right now, or at 10a, and have my tickets in case nothing else follows through. But I’m also gonna try to win tickets. That way, I could bring my sister, as a Christmas present. BUT, I’m also going to try to get a press pass (which would void the need for my ticket, hopefully). Seriously, this would be the most amazing show to shoot. Wouldn’t it? I think so. But with my extra ticket, if you so happen to miss out buying your ticket – I’ll sell mine to you at the exact price I paid for mine – $56. But if no one wants to, I’ll sink to the level of Stubhub, and sell my ticket for big bucks. Well, not BIG bucks, but higher than I bought them for. People are already selling their Deck tickets there for anywhere from $75-$249. Really. It’s kind of disgusting how people get these days. I’ll be generous and give people a relatively low price, but that’s only IF I can a press pass (*crosses fingers*).

Mkay, time to go to the gym. Well, actually I gotta buy my ticket, then go to the gym.

❤ Abby

The Swell Season “Strict Joy” Album Review.

12 Nov

(This has already been posted on PopWreckoning, but I thought I’d post it here anyway to spread it around as much as possible.)

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It’s almost not fair that the U.S. never got to experience Glen Hansard before 2007’s “Once,” because as of 2009, he has a 15-year history of making great bluesy-folk Irish rock with his band The Frames. And his experience mixed with 21-year-old Czech songwriter Marketa Irglova’s unsullied piano and vocals, the two once again creative a dynamic and poignant album, Strict Joy, following their 2007 Oscar win for “Falling Slowly” from the film “Once.” On their second record together, The Swell Season has expanded their musical and emotional repertoire without going too far out of their original intention.

Strict Joy opens on a bluesy Van Morrison-like tune, “Low Rising,” which was an odd choice to open the album, as its somewhat repetitive melody doesn’t hit me with a strong sense of what the album is going to encompass. And to be honest, the rest of the album doesn’t sound a whole lot like “Low Rising.” It’s a cool instance of showing the breadth of Hansard and Irglova’s songwriting, but I would have embedded it in the record as a nice change up, and started the record on track number two, “Feeling the Pull,” as it sounds to me like a sunrise. Like waking up to a sunny day with frost on the windowsill. That shows more what the album is – joyful, but still with those cold moments.

“The Rain,” “Feeling the Pull,” “High Horses” and “The Verb” provide the upbeat core of Strict Joy, which is what makes it different than The Swell Season’s first effort in 2006. This album isn’t nearly as melancholy, although it does have its moments. Stand out-tracks include the choir-laden acoustic ballad “In These Arms,” “Fantasy Man” led by Irglova’s slow lilt, and the Frames-esque throwback “Paper Cup,” which features a great guitar solo that almost sounds like Spanish finger-picking and Hansard’s soulful rasp.

Strict Joy also features a diversity of instruments and mixing, with more strings, harmonica, and even some more high-tech mixing on “Two Tongues,” and an almost Celtic-folk vibe on “I Have Loved You Wrong.” Strict Joy shows how an unlikely pairing can come together in such a way that makes perfect sense. Hansard and Irglova don’t sound like a couple of people who just got together to make music, they sound like they’ve been making music together for much longer than you’d expect because of Irglova’s age. But that may be just a sign of the group’s musicianship and undeniable chemistry. Strict Joy isn’t quite as fresh as the Swell Season’s first effort back in 2006, which people forget preceded “Once,” but just as beautiful. I’d like to see where they go next, now that the songs aren’t as strongly engrained in our minds as the story of “Once,” whether it is fact or fiction.

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❤ Abby

This is a post about Weezer

6 Nov

Take a look at the evolution of Weezer. See how simple, yet perfect they were in the mid-90s? It was the pop answer to grunge that society so needed in the 90s. After Kurt offed himself, he kind of offed grunge in the mainstream after that.







But Weezer was our savior. It was the “emo” of the time. Not that I’m at all comparing Weezer to the shitty-ass mass produced anthems of the black-haired pussies of the mid-00s. But Weezer WAS the youth culture. Who didn’t connect with the Blue Album? And who didn’t think that Pinkerton didn’t get the praise it deserved when it first came out? I mean, Rolling Stone readers fucking voted Pinkerton the second worst album of 1996. Were they all smoking crack? This was before Whitney Houston came out and said “crack is whack!”

What makes old-school Weezer better than new school Weezer is that even though the Blue Album and Pinkerton were released when I was still so freaking enamored with Ren & Stimpy and Nickelodeon slime, those songs never get old. They’re still relevant. People still feel the same. Youth culture never really changed all that much. And I can’t tell you how many times I hear “Buddy Holly” on 107.7 The End during the week. It’s a lot.

So what’s the point of this post exactly? Well, Raditude just came out, and I have mixed feelings. Based on its Weezer-ness, it sucks, but based on its all-around musical merit, it’s adequate. I wouldn’t say great, but not bad. It’s confusing me, hearing Rivers singing about partying and being all “I’m your daddy,” like maybe Rivers is having a mid-life crisis. Maybe he’s getting so close to 40 that he had to write all these songs that would resonate with the hip youths of today’s MTV crowd. Like another review said, not sure where, but I’ll put it in quotes anyway – “It’s like all Rivers is doing to trying to make songs that would sound kickass on Rock Band.”

In a way, I’m hoping that this is a weird mid-life crisis, like my aunt’s crazy dolphin tattoo on her ankle and my dad’s sudden urge to listen to indie rock and wear jeans with flaps over the pockets. Maybe Lil Wayne was Rivers’ key to those who go apeshit over Lauren Conrad instead of Carson Daly how it’s supposed to be.

Seriously, take a listen to Can’t Stop Partying. It’s hella catchy and danceable, but not the same band that once rocked out with the Muppets and wrote a song about a damn sweater.

I liked Weezer’s quarterlife crisis. Their mid-life crisis is getting kinda old. Make Believe was when it all started, and the Red Album was a small redemption from it, cause it was so damn catchy, but now Raditude is going in a whole new direction (crossing my fingers that its an ironic one). Maybe I need to see Weezer live to “get” the whole idea behind Raditude. Because I’ve heard from MULTIPLE sources that Weezer is fucking AMAZING live.

I want to be critical, because that’s technically what I am, but I don’t want to be so critical that I come off as a Pitchfork groupie. Seriously, Pitchfork has gotten ridiculous. Sure when it comes to good albums, they mostly get it right, like with a 9.6 they gave Merriweather Post Pavilion (still reminds me, I have to make my list of the best albums of the DECADE!), but when it comes to albums that are so-so, Pitchfork surely judges mainstream albums much harsher than indie ones. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I’m pretty sure Pitchfork is just a bunch of self-righteous hipsters sitting in their office on their Macs trying to find ways to make the album reviews all about their own flowery prose (it takes one to know one, I know.) And I’ve been reading some other reviews to get a feel of how people are reacting to it, and I don’t wanna hear any, “bands change all the time, they can do whatever they want,” because as much as that’s true – we all truly love the mid-90s era Weezer. I’m not against bands evolving – but all-around change is another thing (All-American Rejects is another example. Their new album makes me really sad, and Tyson needs to get rid of the glitter and put the damn bass back over his shoulder, damnit!).

I’ve had such a weird couple weeks that I felt like I needed to sit down late at night and write about something that I truly know about, and that I don’t have to recollect anything to write a comprehensive blog post. And music is that thing. I just hope – PRAYING TO AN IMPERVIOUS GOD – that I can get myself a pass to Deck the Hall Ball (oh right, The End hasn’t “officially” released any information about it yet, but I just saw a few days ago on Right Arm Entertainment that Muse, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Metric, and 30 Seconds to Mars will be playing. Oh, and guess what? They just changed it to “acts TBA.” Someone must have dropped the ball. OOPS. And it’s also a clue that Red, the morning DJ has been hinting at. Just the other day she said right as “1901” started playing, “I wonder when Phoenix is coming to Seattle. I hope it’s soon.” Don’t even, Red. Don’t even.)

Wow, I went off on a longer tangent than I thought right there.

Weezer.

You take a listen for yourself – most of the songs are on HypeMachine. Do you approve of Weezer’s possibly desperate, possibly ironic want for hip-ness?

I’m still split myself. But I do have Pinkerton to keep me happy. And of course River’s “Alone” home recordings. Those are splendid.

❤ Abby