Archive for April, 2011

April 30, 2011

The Pride of Wasilla: Portugal. The Man at Showbox Tonight

When you think of cities where fun indie pop bands have their roots, we’re sure Wasilla, AK, is not high on your list. Fortunately for the lower 48, the fellows that make up Portugal. The Man found poppy inspiration from the frosty frontier up north.

Now based in the musical treasure trove of Portland, Portugal. The Man is putting the final touches on a new record, In The Mountain, in The Cloud, which is expected to hit shelves in July. The quartet crafts danceable pop tunes that will keep you grooving through their whole set, and make sure you arrive early for the very talented Telekinesis and Brainstorm.

4/30 Portugal. The Man / Telekinesis / Brainstorm @ Showbox :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $16 :: All Ages

April 29, 2011

A Solo Dinosaur: J. Mascis at the Tractor Tonight

J. Mascis, best known as Dinosaur Jr. frontman, will be sharing his solo stylings tonight at Tractor Tavern. The silver-haired legend with his familiar, deep vocals and intricate guitarwork, just released his new solo album, Several Shades of Why. If his live performance is anything like his Sub Pop solo debut, you’ll get to see J. wielding an acoustic guitar rather than his trademark electric axe. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Mascis in an intimate setting.

4/29 J. Mascis / The Black Heart Procession @ Tractor Tavern :: Doors at 9:30 PM :: SOLD OUT :: 21+

April 27, 2011

My Goodness + Friends = An Overflow of Audio Goodness at the Tractor Tonight

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As popular as the indie folk and orchestral pop scene has become, there’s been a rise in straightforward, high-energy rock and roll. Luckily for us, we’re huge fans of both genres. We thoroughly enjoyed slowly swaying to Lost in the Trees last night, and tonight we’re excited to get crazy with one of our local favorites, My Goodness.

My Goodness offers a blend of bluesy funk rock (think Black Keys) in a raw, lo-fi way. The band’s irreverent approach to music and raucous style makes it hard not to reminisce to the days of the grunge movement here in the PacNW. They also have an awesome new video out, which we highlighted last week.

If you’re ready to let loose and rock out tonight, head over to the Tractor tonight. The full lineup is great, so arrive in time to see our friends Elba as well as Fox & the Law.

4/27 My Goodness / Fox & The Law / Elba @ Tractor Tavern :: Doors at 8:30 PM :: Tickets are $5 :: 21+

April 26, 2011

A Symphony on a Small Stage: An Interview with Lost in the Trees

As orchestral pop has become one of our favorite genres over the past few years, tonight’s tractor headliner has joined our list of favorites. With frontman Ari Picker’s formal training in cinematic scoring, Lost in the Trees is a unique band that takes the incorporation of orchestral elements to a new level. We were lucky enough to chat with Ari in advance of tonight’s performance.

What’s the origin of Lost in the Trees?

Lost in the Trees began in my bedroom on my 4-track back in the early 2000’s. I used the moniker to umbrella my more arty orchestral songs. While at school, I attempted to get a live band together to play the songs and after a revolving cast of 30 players and years of hard touring, we find ourselves here.

We remember the band, or maybe it was an earlier iteration of the band, putting songs out there and prompting filmmakers to contact you for scoring purposes. In what films or TV shows can we hear the band?

Early on I was too scared to tour or play out live, so I just pitched my songs to TV and film. I didn’t have a lot of luck, but I did manage to get one song in MTV’s the Real World where one of my songs plays over 2 girls fighting in a hot tub!

Were there certain bands that first made you think about adding orchestral elements to your more traditional rock arrangements?

Sure! The Beach Boys “Smile” sessions, Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother,” as well as the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack, to name a few.

Are there particular composers who inspire your songwriting on the whole or with specific selections?

Danny Elfman was my first favorite composer and was the one who inspired me to study film music, which lead me to discover Bernard Hermann, as well as many classical composers that I had never heard of. These days I’ve been listening to less film scores and more classical music, such as Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Sibelius.

What did you and your cinematic scoring friends think about Trent Reznor winning an Oscar for his work with Atticus Ross on The Social Network?

It’s awesome! Such a small group of composers monopolize the Hollywood scoring scene, it’s refreshing when someone does something new. I hope it leads Hollywood to open more doors for new composers, and think outside the box a bit.

Given your training and other ties to the film world, what prompted you to move back to North Carolina rather than set up as California band?

NC is my home and it always will be. After studying film music, I realized I did not want to climb an LA ladder. I hate the idea of ghost writing or regurgitating other people’s ideas and would rather have folks come to me for being me. Plus, I love the country side and couldn’t imagine living in the city for very long.

Are there other orchestral pop bands that you particularly enjoy?

I love the orchestrations behind Blonde Redhead’s “Misery is a Butterfly,” as well as all the orchestral stuff that Jonny Greenwood does for Radiohead. The Zombies front man Colin Blunstone has a great solo record called “One Year.” It has some really amazing orchestrations on it.

What can those in attendance expect from your performance at the Tractor Tavern?

Sean Rowe and I may get into a fist fight! Other than that, we’ll play a lot of tunes from our new record, plus some songs from the record we’re just about to record. There is always lots of good energy… the band really shines through live!

What’s next for you and the band in the coming months?

Record our new record, tour Europe, and I’ll graduate from college!

A taste of the live experience:

The band’s latest official video:

4/26 Lost in the Trees / Sean Rowe @ Tractor Tavern :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $10 :: 21+

April 25, 2011

Kick Those Monday Blues to the Curb: Fleet Foxes Full Album Stream

Though folk tendencies have been a part of the Seattle music scene since the days of frontier living, the pitch-perfect harmonies of the Fleet Foxes took our city’s interest in music traditionally heard outside of any city limits to new heights.

If you’re among the band’s many fans, you’ll be delighted to know you can stream their latest Helplessness Blues in full over at NPR. Before you make the jump, click below to stream the title track.

You can add the album to your collection starting next Tuesday, 5/3.

April 24, 2011

An Easter Evening with Kurt Vile at Sunset Tavern

If you’re feeling a little familyed out after your Easter egg hunts and suburban ham dinners, an intimate show at one of Seattle’s finest (albeit smallest) popular venues for a proper evening of drinks and music would get you back in the swing of city life.

Tonight, Kurt Vile with all of his distorted, echo-y goodness will be performing with The Violators at the Sunset. Not surprisingly, the show is already sold out, however if you were lucky enough to score tickets, you’ll be in for a fun evening of lo-fi roots rock. The Philly frontman, known for his long hair and easy laughter, will be joined by EMA for an excellent lineup.

4/24 Kurt Vile & The Violators/EMA @ Sunset Tavern :: Doors at 9:00 PM :: SOLD OUT :: 21+

April 22, 2011

Tonight’s Best Bets: Phosphorescent and Yuck

Like many a Friday night around these parts, there are more great musical options than one human could possibly take in. While you are quite likely to see at any of Seattle’s venues tonight the following are our the crème de le crème in our book. Also, one happens to be sold out, so that should make the choice a bit easier if you don’t already have your way in.

4/22 @ Tractor Tavern :: Phosphorescent :: Family Band :: Betsy Olson :: 9:30 p.m.:: $12

4/22 @ Neumos :: Tame Impala :: Yuck :: 8:00 p.m. ::: SOLD OUT

April 21, 2011

Nice Guys Finish Last When They’re Headlining: John Vanderslice at The Croc

For the past 10+ years, John Vanderslice has become known to fans and his peers alike by three characteristics.

Most relevant for the purpose of this preview, he’s an accomplished musician whose tender vocals and experimental tendencies offer a unique take on intelligent indie rock.

Second, he’s a renowned producer who toils away at his all-analogue recording studio in San Fran that goes by the name of Tiny Telephone. Having produced the best albums from Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, The Mountain Goats and our personal favorites, Beulah, among many others, Vanderslice has been at the helm for the upper echelon of indie musicians.

Finally, John Vanderslice has the reputation as being the nicest guy in indie rock. Our first interaction with Vanderslice was during Beulah’s farewell tour when his affability spread through the room like a warm breeze. Vanderslice is the rare artist who genuinely seems even more interested in those around him than in himself. We’d put Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws in roughly a similar category. We imagine Barsuk needs at least two gents to balance John Roderick. We kid, we kid. We’re Roderick fans as well.

Head to The Croc tonight to see JV for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

4/21 @ The Crocodile :: John Vanderslice :: Ivan & Alyosha :: 8 p.m. :: $12

April 21, 2011

Comedian/Actor Turned Rapper: Childish Gambino Tonight at Neumos

We’ll be the first to admit it: we love Donald Glover. From his role as Troy on Community to his stand up (which we were lucky to experience last year at Bumbershoot), we just think the guy is great. And in case you haven’t heard, Glover is in town with another one of his projects that we love: Childish Gambino.

It isn’t widely known that Glover is not only a talented actor and comedian, but he’s also a talented rapper as well. At first blush, his music isn’t anything you’d want your mother to hear you listening to. His songs are sprinkled with F-bombs and derogatory slang, which are things we don’t usually flock to here at SEA live MUSIC. But Chicago’s Gowhere surmises that these are “either shock value or comedic value,” which we think is spot on. All cursing and joking aside, Glover actually deals with some fairly intimate themes in his songs (especially in “Difference,” the first song off his album Culdesac). Plus he uses some great samples throughout.

Head to Neumos tonight to see Glover in action. And make sure you leave your mom at home.

4/21 Donald Glover and Childish Gambino @ Neumos :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: SOLD OUT :: All ages

April 20, 2011

Dark Dark Dark at the Tractor Tavern

With a vocal style that’s somewhat akin to Alessandra Rose of Seattle’s now-defunct The Kindness Kind, tonight’s Tractor Tavern headliner Dark Dark Dark sounds pleasantly familiar even though we’d just heard them for the first time this week.

Where The Kindness Kind relied on keyboards and dynamic guitars, Dark Dark Dark features piano on top of rich strings and light rock instrumentation. As huge fans of orchestral pop, this sound hits our ears just as pleasantly as anything else we’ve enjoyed this month.

Head over to Ballard tonight to take in the live experience for yourself.

4/20 @ Tractor Tavern :: Dark Dark Dark :: Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship? :: Y LA Bamba :: 9 p.m. :: $8

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