Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

Delicate Acoustic Folk with Rocky Votolato Tonight at Neumos

If you’ve lived in the PacNW for several years, you’re likely well acquainted with the delicate, melancholy melodies from singer-songwriter Rocky Votolato. With poetic songwriting and wistful guitarwork, his songs tug at heartstrings and easily lull noisy bar scenes into attentive listeners. He stole a page from David Bazan’s playbook as well by eliciting fans to volunteer their homes for “living room shows,” making his already intimate shows even more personal.

If you’re looking for something soothing tonight, we recommend heading over to Neumo’s tonight. Be sure to arrive early enough for Laura Gibson‘s set – she’s also amazing.

3/31 Rocky Votolato/Laura Gibson/Lizzie Huffman/Nazca Lines @ Neumos :: Doors are at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $13 :: All ages

March 31, 2011

Words with Alex Schaaf from Yellow Ostrich, Tonight at The Croc

Like a lot of Seattleites (and likely, many music fans regardless of geography), we first heard about Yellow Ostrich after KEXP chose “Whale” as a song of the day last December. We were instantly intrigued by the band’s straight-ahead approach to pop, that uses simplicity, fun and experimental vocal harmonies as its foundation. After going back and listening to the band’s in-studio with John Richards from the previous month, we knew we’d have to see them live.

If you too were intrigued by what you heard, you’re in luck as the band will be playing The Crocodile tonight with Say Hi. We were lucky enough to catch up with lead Ostrich Alex Schaaf about influences, songwriting and much more. Continue on to read our exchange, watch the video and head to Belltown this evening for the live experience.

What artists have been the most prominent in your musical development?

The last few months I’ve been listening to a lot of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, stuff like that. Really looking at songwriting and lyrics/chords/etc. a lot more recently rather than just sound-based writing which i’ve done in the past.

How do you approach songwriting? Do you have a standard process or does songs come together in a variety of ways?

They usually start with a random phrase or melody that just pops into my head, and then i try and form a song out of whatever I’m given that way. It’s never the same from song to song but as long as they keep coming I’ll try and make them into something.

From what sources in your life do you get the most lyrical inspiration?

I like writing about small, mundane things, or at least what you can accomplish when given a small, mundane situation. I like imagination, and the power that it can have over your normal life.

How did you and [drummer] Michael [Tapper] first start playing together?

I was still in college about a year ago when he came to my school with Bishop Allen, and I opened for them as Yellow Ostrich, and we kept in touch since then. A couple of months ago we added Jon Natchez on bass and horns.

How did you decide on the band’s name?

I had a friend who owned an ostrich farm and I would go there a lot, and I was just always struck by the ostriches. One of them had one random patch of yellow on its back and I liked the phrase so I kept it.

If you lived in an alternate reality where you forced to play the catalogue of another musician/band for an entire year, which musicians/band’s works would you play?

Definitely the Beatles, they have a wide enough range of songs where I wouldn’t get bored playing them.

Anything that you’re looking to do with your time in Seattle this round?

This is my first time in Seattle so I’m looking forward to just seeing the whole city.

What’s next for the band in 2011?

We’re going to be touring a bit, and then hopefully recording our new album sometime soon.

3/30 Say Hi/Yellow Ostrich/Blair @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $12 :: 21+

March 30, 2011

Big Fun with Miniature Tigers Tonight at The Croc

What separates really good bands from the more run-of-the-mill variety is an element of surprise. We love it when bands throw in something out of the ordinary to spice up their music and differentiate themselves from the everyday Joes who know how to strum a guitar. One such band, with likely the most inoffensive moniker we’ve seen this decade, is Miniature Tigers.

They don’t play regular ol’ indie pop; Miniature Tigers specialize in dreamy beach pop with occasional smatterings of psychedelic rock and tribal/calypso jams, which frankly isn’t a sound you hear often these days. Charlie Brand, the group’s unassuming frontman, sings like he’s sighing, giving their music an easy going breeziness. They also have fun with their music by means of silly lyrics and comical videos, and we love it when bands still have joy about their art form.

They’re playing tonight at the Croc with one of our past recommended artists, Pepper Rabbit.

3/30 Miniature Tigers/Pepper Rabbit/Cataldo @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $9 :: 21+

March 29, 2011

Kiwi at the Croc: Liam Finn Returns to Seattle Tonight

Like most sons and daughters, Liam Finn has grown up hearing how much he looks like, acts like and sounds like at least one his parents. Unlike most sons or daughters, however, Liam is popular culture royalty of sorts.

Faced with ubiquitous comparisons to his father (Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House fame), Liam Finn has been able to make a name for himself with his own brand of bittersweet indie pop.

Though, like his father, Finn the younger calls New Zealand home, Liam has enough ties to the PacNW for us to consider him an honorary denizen of the Northwest. From his noted influences of Elliott Smith and Kurt Cobain to his 2008-2009 gig opening for Eddie Vedder on his North American tour, Liam’s musical experimentation and lyrical proficiency make him feel like an extended part of the family.

Check out his unique brand of Beatles-esque, indie pop below and if you like what you hear, head over to the Croc tonight to take in the full experience.

3/29 @ The Crocodile :: Liam Finn :: The Luyas :: Red Jacket Mine :: 8 P.M. :: $12 :: 21+

March 27, 2011

Dreamy Glo-Fi Tonight at the Croc with Toro Y Moi

Sundays were made for being relaxed. One last chance to recharge and rest up for the long work week ahead. Aside from sleeping in, watching movies and eating out so you don’t have to do dishes, a good show can make you feel like a new dollar bill. Especially when the music is in the genre of “chillwave.”

Last year, Chazwick Bundick, better known by his stage name Toro Y Moi, set a new bar for the glo-fi scene, crafting electronic tunes full of chilled out synthy goodness. For an evening of dreamy, summery music, don’t miss Toro Y Moi with Cloud Nothings and Braids tonight at the Croc.

3/27 Toro Y Moi/Cloud Nothings/Braids @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $10 :: 21+

March 26, 2011

Superhuman Abilities: Telekinesis Tonight at The Croc

A skill that will forever fascinate us here at SEAliveMUSIC is the ability for drummers to keep a rhythm and sing at the same time. Perhaps we’re just really uncoordinated, but singing and drumming is quite a feat. And it’s a downright miracle when the drummer is actually the lead singer of the band.

One such anomaly is Michael Lerner: singer, songwriter and drummer for an outstanding local pop group called Telekinesis. Not only is Lerner a talented drummer, but he’s a thoughtful lyricist and a talented singer. It just doesn’t seem fair for one person to be able to do all that at once. Plus he’s backed by a stellar band, so the end result is an all out joy of a performance.

This set by Telekinesis is sure to be the highlight of your weekend, so join us at The Croc tonight. Get there early to make sure you catch a couple other local favorites, Mal De Mer and The Globes.

3/26 Telekinesis/The Globes/Mal De Mer @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $10 :: 21+

March 25, 2011

D. Crane of BOAT Dresses Like His Idols, Talks to Us

As anyone who has had any interaction with the monkeys at the typewriters that power this site knows, we’re huge BOAT fans. The band’s legendary (in our book) 2008 performance with Fishboy and Tullycraft at the Sunset still ranks among our all-time favorite concerts.

The band perfectly marries D. Crane’s Malkmus-esque delivery of cleverly goofy yet often oddly profound lyrics with indie pop rock instrumentation. Their live shows take the experience to the next level as the guys consistently remind the audience why they’re one of the most highly-regarded optimists in the rock game today.

We were lucky enough to catch up with middle school teacher by day and BOAT frontman by night D. Crane in advance of their highly anticipated album release show at the Tractor tonight.

Continue on to read our best interview yet, listen to the tunes below and make your way to Ballard for a night you won’t soon forget.

How did the title and concept for Dress Like Your Idols come about?

I wrote the song Dress Like Your Idols about a year ago. It was one of my favorite lyrics from the record, so I started drawing up ideas. I drew a guy combing his hair….some people getting dressed….a guy punching his desk….and then started trying to draw album covers. It was initially just a silly excuse to sit with my albums and do some drawing. Then I realized the concept worked together.

How difficult was it to narrow the album covers for your homage cover down to nine?

I drew about seventeen. I chose the ones that turned out the best. The Supergrass–I Should Coco cover looks pretty shabby. It didn’t make the cut!

Were there albums that certain members fought for passionately but ultimately not passionately enough to warrant a spot?

In the end I was the editor. I feel badly because it doesn’t fully represent the band. J. Goodman’s choice of Peter Gabriel’s “Scratch,” and Freewheelin Bob Dylan….made the insert on the LP. B. Stewart’s choice of Teenage Fanclub’s “Bandwagonesque” was received after the deadline.

What were the major differences between recording DLYI and your other albums?

We had these songs for a year or so in demo form. I think we made more of a conscious effort to arrange these songs. We tried lots of ideas and layers of noises. For that we used J. Long’s house, as well as the studio he used to work at. J. Long also tried to take demo tracks and incorporate them into the final recordings. We hadn’t done that before. But like the other albums, the best part about it was hanging out and eating pizza. So, I guess it’s fairly similar in that way.

As one of the few admitted Pearl Jam fans that we get to interview, are you more excited by the band’s upcoming return to the studio, Eddie’s solo uke album or Jeff’s Tres Mts project?

I am done denying that I loved/love Pearl Jam. They made me excited about music at a young age…and they have grown older gracefully. They seem like champs. They always have! I still wish they’d take on Ticketmaster. That was a golden era. I remember hearing Corduroy on the End (107.7), when they debuted it, and taping it off my boombox. I remember getting a cassette of Vs. on its release day. So, I must say I am excited to see what is in the deluxe Vs./Vitalogy release. I am looking forward to a Monkeywrench Radio bonus cassette!

What’s the best show you’ve seen this year?

Watching the Apples in Stereo at the Crocodile was a favorite show for me. We got to meet and hang out with Robert Schneider.

Outside of your friends Tullycraft, what other local bands do you feel fall closest to BOAT on the spectrum of poppy indie rock?

I am not sure. That is a constant conundrum. I love the Nightgowns! I can’t wait until they release something new. The Unnatural Helpers record is really cool. Sunshine/Pretty Girls should be the number one download on Itunes! If Tullycraft reunites…we will play with them.

How did John Roderick end up singing back-up on Landlocked?

We were lucky enough to open for TLW in 2008, and again last year in Eugene, OR. His voice is so special. I emailed him and asked him if he would be up for it. He was a total prince. We gave him some pizza and coffee, and hit record! I grew up with a big sister….I probably would choose him as a big brother…if he and I were enrolled in the Big Brother Big Sister program.

Do your students and/or their parents know you’re in a band? Do they ever come out to any of your shows?

I try to keep it hidden…on account of them being 8th graders. They like Wiz Khalifa, not GBV. But a teacher told them about it and they are actually pretty cool about it. A band photo graces the screen saver in the computer lab, right next to a Tupac screensaver, and a Ben Franklin screensaver. They kind of punked me. I don’t know how to change the screensaver on these old Dells. They locked it somehow!

If you lived in an alternate reality where you forced to play the catalogue of another musician/band for an entire year, which musicians/band’s works would you play?

I would play Velvet Underground songs. You could just jam them for hours. Maybe I would sneak in a Tullycraft cover (Clique at Night Vandals)….after a 20 minute version of Sister Ray.

What else do you have planned for 2011?

I am starting a graduate program to become a school administrator/principal/vice principal. But…we desperately want to tour Europe. So, I will spend the bulk of 2011 begging UK record companies to release our album, and learning how to discipline middle school children with positive discipline.

The new single:

The single from Setting the Paces:

3/25 @ The Tractor :: BOAT :: Pickwick :: Concours D’Elegance :: 9:30 PM :: $8

March 24, 2011

Blue Skies and Beach Tunes: Orca Team at Chop Suey Tonight

As we stare out at the blue skies from the confines of SEAliveMUSIC HQ, we get more and more excited about the nice (and sometimes spectacular) season(s) in Seattle. As such, we’ve been aligning our iTunes and Grooveshark playlists with plenty of warm weather tunes in the vein of Tennis and the Botticellis.

One PacNW group that makes our list is none other than Portland’s finest purveyors of surf rock, Orca Team. While we have to admit, it was their name that first caught our attention, it was their rich harmonies, soothing vocals and beach party instrumentation that made us fans.

Head over to Chop Suey to catch the live experience for yourself.

3/24 The Intelligence/Orca Team/Le Sang Song :: @ Chop Suey :: 8 P.M. :: $10 :: 21+

March 24, 2011

Experiment With Your Musical Tastes: Akron/Family Tonight at Neumos

When Bumbershoot rolls around each Labor Day Weekend, we tend to spend most of the long weekend hanging out with the nice folks from KEXP in their annual KEXP Secret Lounge. It is a magical, intimate live recording space for Bumbershoot’s finest to come and entertain a small crowd, and it is our favorite stage at the festival. Last year, one of our unexpected favorite performances here was Akron/Family.

Our friends at Tiny Mix Tapes wrote that Akron/Family’s “performances are the stuff of legends” and “festival stealers,” which we happen to wholeheartedly agree with. They walk a fine line between modern experimental folk and 1970s transcendent psychedelic rock. With energetic, visually interesting live performances and clever instrumentation, they’ve become a favorite amongst those who enjoy a more abstract, noisy sound.

While Akron/Family is definitely not a band that will appeal to a broad base of our readers, we’d highly encourage you to give them a try tonight at Neumos with Delicate Steve. They push the limits of “rock” and the end result is quite remarkable.

Silly Bears by Akron/Family from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

3/24 Akron Family/Delicate Steve @ Neumos :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $12 :: All Ages

March 23, 2011

Little Beirut: Portland Power Pop at the High Dive Tonight

While we spent many years of our young adult lives as devoted fans of power pop, for better or worse, our tastes have steadily moved to usually more somber varieties of “indie rock.” While that may be, there are a handful of bands that take us back to our days of saccharine radio rock blasting from our car stereos.

One such band that brings to mind exactly why we were so captivated with our Sloan albums and the like is Portland’s own Little Beirut. According to frontman Hamilton Sims what makes them different from a lot of bands out of Rose City is that “we’re not avant garde, we’re not trying to weird you out.” If you’re in the mood for hook-laden choruses and slick power chords tonight, then head to the High Dive early as Little Beirut will be kicking things off around 8:30 PM.

3/23 @ High Dive :: Second Academy :: Tyrannosaurus Grace :: Little Beirut at High Dive :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: $6

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