November 28, 2014

We’re Thankful For… Bumbershoot [In Photos]

Not to get too sentimental, but sometimes it is important to take a step back and admire all the wonderful things about life. Whether it’s family, friends, trips, pets, health or living down the block from your favorite coffee shop, we can all find something in life to be grateful for.

The SLM team has a lot to be thankful for this year. We have been able to attend some amazing concerts and talk to some incredible musicians. Anyone who claims “music isn’t as good as it used to be” just hasn’t been looking in the right places  – we’re grateful to be able to find new music we’re excited to share with our friends and readers every week.

One of the experiences we’re thankful for every year continues to be Bumbershoot. Hopefully you took us up on some of our recommended performances for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3, and even more importantly, hopefully you were glad you did.

Here’s to another great Bumbershoot at Seattle Center this past September and some of the scenes we love looking back on from the festival.

November 27, 2014

Apparently Thanksgiving Playlists Are a Thing, Here’s Ours

Thanksgiving! A day where Americans get gluttonous with feasts, friends, family and football. Most of us even have the day off work and/or school to soak in the gravy revelry.

You have your elastic waistband to accommodate the food overload, but what can help mentally prepare you for the family overload? We usually turn to our some favorite artists in times like these, so we’ve put together a list of our top 10 “Thanksgiving” tracks. The below list focuses on the themes of loved ones, dinner and, at the risk of sounding trite, being thankful (without the blatant cheesiness of Adam Sandler’s “Thanksgiving Song”).

We hope at least a couple of these songs will find their way onto your own playlist for Turkey Day.

 

“Thank You Girl” – The Beatles

 

“Cousins” – Vampire Weekend

 

“I Am Part of a Large Family” – Great Lake Swimmers

 

“Thanksgiving Song” – The National

 

“Dinner Bells” – Wolf Parade

 

“Thanks for Nothing” – Middle Brother

 

“Friends and Family” – River City Extention

 

“Thank You Friends” – Big Star

 

“Don’t Thank Me” – French Kicks

 

“Bare Feast” – Ratatat

November 25, 2014

SEA live Spotlight: Hypnotic Grooves from Elliot Moss Debut, Highspeeds

In our line of work hobby, we come across a proverbial {insert Thanksgiving word here} cornucopia of great emerging artists. Occasionally we come across such an exceptional talent that causes us to break from our standard week-of their Seattle show preview posts. For such burst-at-the-seams-if-we-don’t-share moments we’re kick-starting a brand new series on the blog called SEA live Spotlight. Up first, we introduce you to Elliot Moss.

He’s one of those rare combinations of singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, which seems like entirely too much talent for one person. Hailing from New York, he is already making a splash with his debut album, Highspeeds, and opening for the Cold War Kids on a national tour (which will be coming through Seattle in February). Much like Washed Out, Elliot recorded and mixed an excellent record largely on his own. Of course he did.

Elliot_Moss_Press_Emulator

Highspeeds features dark, chic grooves suitable for everything from a long nighttime drive, an afternoon of studying or a sophisticated dinner party. The album’s slow, slinky beats drive layers of swaying keyboard and synth melodies, topped with Elliot’s downbeat lyrics – a blend that flawlessly balances background ambiance and intriguing digital ditties.

Faraday Cage, one of the standout tracks on the album, perfectly encapsulates Elliot’s style. The song is eerie and hypnotic, with Elliot’s breathy voice acting as the spotlight that slowly fades in and out of the backdrop of lilting synth and jazzy percussion.

We also love the title track, Highspeeds. It features Elliot’s layered vocal tracks to highlight the deeply personal lyrics, some trance-inducing looping and a few outer space style flourishes. The song feels expansive yet personal, perfectly matching the song’s sentiment of letting go.

Really, you should check out the album for the full experience. It’s a great listen from beginning to end, and you’ll instantly want to hit replay once the album finishes.

Of course, if you enjoy what you hear, head over to Showbox to get tickets for his opening slot supporting Cold War Kids on Friday, February 20.

November 24, 2014

Best Live Music of the Week – 11/24

Hello readers! Welcome back to our regularly scheduled programming of weekly music recommendations.

As you prepare to give thanks for your mom’s turkey and apple pie later this week, we’re giving thanks that the Emerald City can boast such amazing venues and artists. See below for a quick glance at the best live shows this week.

SLM_11-24-14

11/26 (Wednesday) Bryan John Appleby, Shenandoah Davis, James Wallace @ Fremont Abbey Arts Center

This month’s installment of music at the Abbey features three talented, bluesy, indie singer-songwriters.

11/28 (Friday) Noah Gundersen, Rocky Votolato @ The Moore

Up-and-coming singer songwriter joins one of Seattle’s tried-and-true songsmiths at one of the loveliest venues in the city.

11/29 (Saturday) Black Whales (album release), The Young Evils, Timbre Barons, @ The Tractor Tavern

The 1960’s-influenced folk garage band Black Whales releases their latest collection of raw, psychedelic pop tunes.

November 17, 2014

Where in the World is SLM? Q&A Reveals All!

Carmen_SLM2

Much like everyone’s favorite grade-school mystery woman Carmen Sandiego, SEAliveMUSIC has been MIA. Also much like Ms. Sandiego, we’ve done a little globetrotting.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions from our friends and readers, so we’d like to address these inquiries. You’ve (possibly) enjoyed many an interview with musicians here on the ol’ blog, so now here’s a short Q&A from the team on the future of SLM.

Readers: Um, where are my music recos? Are you guys majorly slacking or what?

SLM: We know, we know. We’ve been preoccupied. The SLM team has actually moved. Across the world. To another continent. Remember a little band called The Beatles? We’re living in their homeland now. So as you might imagine (and have likely seen), the  blog has suffered (more than) a little in the transition.

Readers: But… but… why?

SLM: SLM co-founder and master new-music-finder Matt is going to business school in England. It was a great opportunity and a nice excuse to do some immersive research into the British music scene.

Readers: Come back to Seattle, please.

SLM: We will! We love Seattle and it’s our home. We’ll be in England for at least a year for school, and maybe a year or two for work after that, but we fully intend on coming back home at some point.

Readers: So is the blog on hiatus while you gallivant around Europe? That’s selfish. We need music!

SLM: Never fear, dear readers. While we did take a short hiatus to pack up our lives, move to a new country, find an apartment… sorry,  flat… and figure out how to unlock our cell phones, SLM will live on! Even though we’re across the globe doesn’t mean we don’t still care very much about the local scene in Seattle. So we’ll be starting up our weekly posts, calendar updates and artist interviews within the next week or so. 

Readers: OK, that’s not so bad. In that case, can we come visit you?

SLM: Of course! We love visitors, and we’d love to show you around our little English town. In fact, we’re near some fantastic music venues in the Bristol area, and near some great places in England that mean a lot to music. Ever heard of a little band called Portishead? The town of Portishead is just a short train ride away. Liverpool and the Beatles, Stornoway and the band Stornoway… it’s great. Lots of music history and tourist activities. We’re fully planning on blocking traffic on Abbey Way  soon. Come on out and we’ll rock our (temporarily) British hearts out.

In the meantime though, visit us virtually here on the blog for all the latest recommendations on great live music in the Emerald City. We’re with you in spirit, Seattle friends.

September 1, 2014

Bumbershoot Day 3: Top Picks

Bumbershot_Day3

Adapting to festival life isn’t so hard. Our brains have already adjusted to thinking, “Oh, this is our life now. We rush around Seattle Center all day listening to amazing music. I guess we live here now.” But alas, silly brains. That is not the case. For today is the final day of Bumbershoot (queue gentle weeping and cries of “NOOOOO!!!”).

Maybe we should save the weeping for tomorrow morning when it’s back to work and “normal” life, whatever that is. So for now, let’s rejoice and revel in the fact that today boasts another amazing lineup of music! Hurrah!

DAY 3 – MONDAY, SEPT. 1

La Luz – 12:30 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Sweet vocals over strong surf undertones from the Emerald City.

Smokey Brights – 1:45 PM, Pavilion Stage

Country-tinged rock with a PacNW twist.

Rose Windows – 3:30 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Hometown, female-fronted ethereal retro-rock that keeps it sludgy yet buoyant. 

Julianna Barwick – 5:30 PM, Pavilion Stage

Atmospheric and echoy Iceland-inspired melodies from a Brooklyn-based vocalist.

Hurray for the Riff Raff – 6:15 PM, Starbucks Stage

Knee-slapping Appalachian mountain music from a Puerto Rican virtuoso.

Nada Surf – 7:00 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Legendary Brooklyn indie-rockers with a penchant for intertwining the highs and lows of life.

Jacco Gardner – 8:15 PM, End Zone Stage

Cinematic, psychedelic indie-pop from a young, Dutch 60’s enthusiast.

Real Estate – 9:00 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Pleasantly hazy surf-tinged indie-rock from the Garden State.

August 31, 2014

Bumbershoot-out: Big Star’s Third vs. Pickwick

Another day at Bumbershoot, another opportunity to double-book yourself for the same time slot. It’s easy to feel conflicted at festivals where there’s so much great music to see and so little time in the day. Today is no exception, with a really tough decision facing us during the 8:00 hour.

Bumbershoot-out_Day2

DAY 2: Big Star’s Third (8:00 PM, Starbucks Stage) vs. Pickwick (8:15 PM, Fisher Green Stage)

Big Star might be the most important band you’ve never heard of. Formed in the early 1970s, the band has been hugely influential to other acts you may have heard of: REM, The Replacements, Teenage Fan Club, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Flaming Lips, Wilco and the Afghan Wigs, just to name a few. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, including distribution snafus, the radio trends of the time and in-band fighting paring down the foursome to just two in a matter of years, Big Star wasn’t privy to the limelight like they deserved. However, they did get quite popular in the UK in the late ’70s and have been picking up steam everywhere ever since. For good reason, they’ve have been referred to as “America’s #1 cult band” by Revolver. After the unfortunate passing of frontman Alex Chilton and bassist Andy Hummel in 2010, original drummer Jody Stephens pieced together a notable lineup to play Big Star’s third record for the (now) adoring masses. And rumor has it, a few very special guests will join the band on stage this evening.

That’s why Big Star narrowly beats out local funk favorites, Pickwick, in today’s Bumbershoot-out. Don’t get us wrong – Pickwick is fantastic. Originally they started as a local indie-folk group that had trouble getting much traction in the scene. But then, as a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly, the band when through a metamorphosis – or at least a musical epiphany – and mixed in some funk and soul into their craft. Voila, a star is born. Unassuming frontman Galen Disston has a powerful, emotive voice that suits the band’s style perfectly. And as if that isn’t reason enough to enjoy Pickwick, local Grammy winner Kory Kruckenberg mans the vibraphone and produces the band’s albums.

See, tough decision, right? But history has the edge here so make sure you catch at least some of Big Star’s set. But really this is a win-win situation.

August 31, 2014

Bumbershoot Day 2: Top Picks

Bumbershoot_Day2_TopPicks

After a full first day of Bumbershoot, it’s hard to believe we aren’t even halfway through the weekend yet. But with the new day and a few cups of caffeine, we’re ready for another day jam-packed with great music. We’re thrilled (and we’re sure Seattle Rock Guy is, too) that today features a handful of some great metal bands. Early afternoon isn’t when we usually listen to metal music, but when in Rome.

Our can’t-miss acts for Day 2 include:

DAY 2 – SUNDAY, AUG. 31

Hobosexual – 12:30 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Hard-driving rock duo from the Emerald City.

Sandrider – 2:00 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Locally-based grunge metal band featuring former members of Akimbo.

Kishi Bashi – 3:00 PM, Fischer Green Stage

Melodic pop perfections from a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.

Red Fang – 3:45 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

Arena-worthy heavy metal from Portland.

Kins – 5:00 PM, End Zone Stage

Guitar-driven and atmospheric pop from Australia.

The Replacements – 6:00 PM, Mainstage

Post-punk group that made it big in the 80s is back after reuniting last year.

Big Star’s Third – 8:00 PM, Starbucks Stage

Immensely influential rock group from the early 1970s that maintains a strong cult following – original drummer Jody Stephens will be joined be his talented, famous friends and other surprise guests.

The Dismemberment Plan – 9:00 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

1990s experimental post-punk group from Washington DC released a solid comeback album last year.

Bootsy Collins – 10:00 PM, Fischer Green Stage

Psychedelic funk legend who rose to fame in the 1970s and hasn’t slowed since.

August 30, 2014

Bumbershoot-out: Mac DeMarco vs. Iska Dhaaf

Music festivals never fail to schedule at least two great bands at the same time, and Bumbershoot 2014 is no different. We’re here to help you make the inevitable tough decisions to make sure you catch the best sets of the day.

Bumbershoot-out_Day1

DAY 1: Mac DeMarco (5:15, Fountain Lawn) vs. Iska Dhaaf (5:30, Pavilion Stage)

Mac DeMarco, a Montreal-based indie pop multi-instrumentalist, is a strong contender for your time. His latest single, “Salad Days,” feels like an easy-going summer jam that is somewhat reminiscent of Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” with sadder lyrics. His songs teeter and amble, occasionally stumbling into unexpected key changes that keep his music intriguing. Certainly feel-good and fun to listen to, DeMarco is an ideal summer festival act to put on stage.

However, we give the edge to Seattle’s own Iska Dhaaf for this face-off. While their music is darker and more complex, they have a distinct surf-rock undertone that keeps the music dance-able and somewhat hypnotic. The retro-inspired guitarwork paired with compelling time signatures and a tinge of sorrowful desperation in the lyrics provides a magnetic, modern sound that is entirely its own.

Don’t get us wrong, both sets will be great. You really can’t go wrong. See you out there (in the rain)!

 

August 30, 2014

Bumbershoot Day 1: Top Picks

Bumbershoot_Day1_TopPicks_new

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been pouring over the official Bumbershoot lineup with multi-colored pens and developing a hefty piecemeal schedule for each day. Or maybe that’s just us.

Either way, we’ve got you covered. Our favorite in-city music fest has officially arrived, and if you’ll be participating in the Labor Day fun at Seattle Center, we’ve spelled out the can’t-miss acts every day. So, do as we did and mark up your hard copy, plug these into your customized official Bumberapp or  just Sharpie these on the back of your hand. Our top recommendations for Day 1 are below:

DAY 1 – SATURDAY, AUG. 30

Cumulus – 3:00 PM, Pavilion Stage.

Poppy female-fronted rock with snappy drums and driving guitar riffs.

The Lonely Forest – 3:30 PM, Fountain Lawn Stage

A final farewell performance from the Anacortes indie darlings.

Cataldo – 4:15 PM, End Zone Stage

Locally sourced folk-tinged songs infused with clever wordplay and a strong dose of pop sensibilities.

Iska Dhaaf – 5:30 PM, Pavilion Stage

After a much lauded debut to the Seattle scene, Ben Verdoes and Nathan Quiroga drive a raw, dark brand of surf-tinged rock.

Elvis Costello – 6:15 PM, Mainstage

England’s pub rock legend helps the Bumber-crowd “pump it up” with catchy melodies and engaging lyrics.

RA Scion – 8:45 PM, End Zone Stage

Hip hop master of Common Market fame will surely play some new tracks from his latest album released earlier this year.

Wu Tang Clan – 9:45 PM, Mainstage

Wu Tang returns to Bumbershoot, featuring a collective of hip hop heavy hitters.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,425 other followers

%d bloggers like this: