Archive for September, 2011

September 30, 2011

Demetri Martin: Part Music, All Comedy at the Neptune Tonight + Tomorrow

While we spend the vast majority of time on this site predictably going on about music, we like to mix it up from time to time to talk about some of the other great entertainment options in the city. More often than not, when we switch gears from live music we transition to live comedy. To make that transition even less jarring, we’re prone to recommend comedy that includes musical elements in some capacity.

Enter our recommendation for tonight and tomorrow: comedian, actor, writer, highly-impressive doodler and exceedingly-capable musician, Demetri Martin.

From his time as a correspondent for The Daily Show, to his excellent sketch show Important Things with Demetri Martin, to his comedy specials, Martin is best known for filling Comedy Central with some of best jokes, drawings, sketches and songs you’re likely to see on TV. Though he turns to music far less than, say, one of our other current favorites Reggie Watts, Martin’s use of guitar and keys works remarkably well, veering far from the forced guitar/piano comics who have littered comedy clubs for decades. Instead, Martin plays a variety of instruments at intermittent points through his set to add texture to his act by punctuating key points during his cleverly-worded semi-observational, semi-surreal bits.

Listen to embedded audio below and/or watch the (not embeddable!) high quality video at Comedy Central. After you’re thoroughly amused, head over to STG Presents to snatch up one of the few remaining tickets for Martin’s nearly sold-out shows at the revamped Neptune.

9/30 + 9/30 Demetri Martin @ Neptune Theatre :: Doors at 8 p.m. :: $34 :: All Ages

September 27, 2011

Parallel to Pinback, Smith’s Systems Officer Takes Over the Sunset Tonight

As huge Pinback fans, we were thrilled to learn about Systems Officer, the solo venture from Pinback founder and multi-instrumentalist Armistead Burwell Smith IV.

The project, according to Smith, was one that sat on the shelf for over five years, being pushed aside by a commitment to Pinback and only recently was given room to breathe following Pinback’s excellent Autumn of the Seraphs back in 2007. That focus on Systems Officer yielded 2009’s Underslept but shortly thereafter, Smith again felt S.O. wasn’t getting enough attention as he’d “always wanted it to be a full fledge fuctioning band recording records on a regular basis and touring.”

Cut to late summer 2011 and Smith’s hopes have turned into realities. Now more than just an on-again off-again project, Systems Officer has turned into a band with members (including current and former Pinback players Chris Prescott and Kenseth Thibideau) and a West Coast tour schedule.

If you’re a fan of Smith’s understated-sounding, yet-incredibly-intricate melodically moody pop masterpieces, head to the Sunset to take in the live experience for yourself.

9/27 Systems Officer / Phantom Works / Steradian @ Sunset Tavern :: Doors at 9:00 PM :: $10

September 26, 2011

What You’ve Been Waiting For: Bon Iver, Other Lives Tonight at The Paramount

Autumn is a dichotomy of joy and sorrow. The beauty of the leaves changing, the excitement for Halloween and Thanksgiving, and the comfort of warm, hearty meals makes fall a wonderful time of year. But fall also makes us lament the passing summer and how fleeting the sunshine can be here in Seattle.

This sense of conflicting beauty and sadness makes tonight’s performance particularly appropriate for the season. Since Justin Vernon hit the scene as Bon Iver in 2007, fans have flocked to the gentle melodies and entrancing harmonies that would make even the fellows of Fleet Foxes pause to take notice. Vernon’s songs are melancholy and gorgeously composed, and have gained more depth since the band’s first release, For Emma, Forever Ago.

We’d be unfair to write about this show without also highlighting tonight’s openers, Other Lives. Atmospheric and arresting, Other Lives produces soundtrack-worthy anthems with rich harmonies and dramatic crescendos. They also have an impressively high-budg sci-fi music video (posted below).

If there’s one stand-out show we’d recommend during this fall tour season, this might be it. Congratulations to everyone who scored tickets, and good luck to those of you scouring Craigslist for a chance to see this dream lineup.

9/26 Bon Iver / Other Lives @ The Paramount :: 7:30 PM :: SOLD OUT

September 22, 2011

The Prolific Elba Release Their Second and Best of Year at High Dive Tonight

While we’ve been Elba enthusiasts for years, it’s really been the band’s output over the past year that’s made us even more excited about the band. Sure, for most musicians you get street-cred by claiming to love the early stuff but there’s something to be said for getting to hear a band when they’re really hitting their stride. With January’s release of Diplodocus and even more so with the band’s brand-new self-titled, the band has really put their own stamp on their take on Modest Mouse/Pixies-influenced indie rock that we’ve enjoyed for what seems like forever.

If you’re already a fan or just like what you hear below, be sure to head over to Fremont’s High Dive tonight for a great-lineup that includes Ravenna Woods’ Matt Badger as well as fine acts from Austin and Portland.

9/22 Elba / Blue Skies For Black Hearts / Matt Badger / Jarrett Killen @ High Dive :: 8:00 pm :: $7

September 20, 2011

Nevermind, This is a Huge Deal Twenty Years Later at EMP Tonight

To use a phrase that we learned at least two decades ago, tonight’s recommended show is “the hottest ticket in town.” Beyond that, it’s the one that’s most worthy of your hard-earned money. If you’re one of the lucky ticketholders, 9/20 has long been marked on your calendar as the day you’d be heading to Paul Allen’s EMP to hear some of the best and/or most notable Seattle musicians play tribute to Seattle’s most iconic release from twenty years ago. Tonight, all songs from Nirvana’s Nevermind will be performed by a “star-studded” roster including:

The Presidents of the United States of America, The Fastbacks, Krist Novoselic, Vaporland, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, The Long Winters, Visqueen, Valis (former Screaming Trees), Campfire OK, Champagne Champagne, Ravenna Woods, Crypts, TacocaT, Vendetta Red, and more.

After Nevermind there will be a special encore set of Nirvana songs played by artists including Young Fresh Fellows, Pigeonhed, Cobirds Unite, The Tripwires, Shelby Earl, Stag, SEACATS, Cali Giraffes, and Tom Price Desert Classic.

If that wasn’t compelling enough, all proceeds from tonight’s show will go to helping “longtime Seattle music industry maven” Susie Tennant who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Visit to make a donation. Funds raised go toward medical expenses and family support throughout Susie’s extended cancer treatment.

9/20 Nevermind Turns 20 @ EMP :: SOLD OUT but you can watch live at

September 18, 2011

The Album Leaf, First-Rate Cinematic Rock at The Croc Tonight

It’s hard to believe that The Album Leaf have been around for 13 years. Like some of our other favorite purveyors of dark, atmospheric, (largely) instrumental rock including Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and El Ten Eleven, the solo project turned more-collaborative band fronted by Jimmy LaValle explores audio space in terms that best parallel cinematic experiences. Head over to The Croc to take in the multi-sensory experience for yourself.

9/18 The Album Leaf / Sister Crayon @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8 pm :: $13

September 16, 2011

An Interview with Tonight’s Featured Act, The Features

Over the past year, The Features have become one of our favorite bands outside of the Seattle area. While the band has been doing quite well in Europe, most notably the UK, for years, it’s only been relatively recently that the Tennessee rock band has started getting the same attention and respect stateside. You may have heard The Features on KEXP or perhaps you even heard the band because you happened to tune into PBS’ surprisingly captivating documentary mini-series Circus.

Or maybe this is your first time hearing about the band. Whatever the case may be, continue on to read our interview with drummer Rollum Haas and check out the band in person as they open for Kevin Devine at El Corazon tonight.

For those not yet familiar with your band, what key elements might help them identify what they’re hearing as The Features?

We’re a four piece rock band that has keyboards instead of another guitar, we don’t do a lot of solos/showboating, and our singer doesn’t sound like a fey indie rocker or the guy from Creed.

At what point did you start seeing the reactions to your original songs become positive enough to warrant the jump from being a band heavy on covers to one that plays its own material?

By the time I joined in ’98 we were long past that point. I know that Matt started writing his own songs pretty early on. When we rehearse we always just mess around with new material, so unless it’s a special occasion or we’re asked, we don’t bother. Occasionally we’ll talk about it but it hasn’t happened in years.

Kings of Leon certainly have their legion of fans as well as an equally devoted army of those who decry them as America’s Nickelback (which is a compliment in some circles, less so in others…) Have you found either positive or negative reactions from fans after hearing you’ve signed to KOL’s label?

I haven’t seen anything negative from it but I understand what you’re getting at. There’s very little in between with music fans these days……kind of like politics. The indie world is as fickle as the pop world.

There’s a whole unspoken list of things that bands aren’t allowed to do if they want to be perceived as being cool. I think the Kings had a hard time with that crowd because they didn’t listen to the bands those people think you’re supposed to listen to and look how they think you’re supposed to look. Also if your music appeals to a certain type of person, the elitists will stay away rather than risk association(even if they like it). Whatcha gonna do? There’s plenty of bands heralded by that crowd that are good but a lot more that are total horse-shit. It’s always been that way. Black Sabbath got crummy reviews yet there were bands that based an entire career off of individual songs from them so now they’re respected. Sorry for giving you an essay…

How did your involvement with PBS’s great documentary mini-series Circus come about?

A fan of the band was involved with the project and wanted us to be a part of it. It’s always a nice surprise when stuff like that happens.

If you lived in a parallel universe where all bands in 2011 had to become tribute bands, which band would you choose as your new identity for the year?

If I had to pick a newer band, The Walkmen. If I had to pick an older band, Roxy Music.

Are there any bands from Seattle that make your van’s playlist?

We’ve talked about covering “Rusty Cage”. Just talk….We all like Jimi Hendrix. I always hear that Nirvana’s from Aberdeen, but they’d be on there. Most Seattle bands are too tough for us. Any individual member of any band from Seattle could beat up our entire band.

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

My wife is coming up to visit me so I get to have a break from what’s sure to be a smelly van for a bit. My memories of Seattle are a little fuzzy. I remember a lot of sake, a lot of hills, hot dogs with cream cheese, and helping a guy push his car out of the road.

9/16 Kevin Devine / The Features / Dane Ueland @ El Corazon / $12 advance, $15 doors / 9:00 pm / All Ages

September 15, 2011

Self-Described “Pop/Rock/Folk” Done Right: Cataldo at the Croc Tonight

With an album titled Prison Boxer, it’s hard to know what to expect from Cataldo on first glance. On first listen, however, the listener’s ears are greeted with audio fare that falls somewhere between The Weakerthans and The Decemberists.

Best yet, Cataldo is a Seattle band so picking up the band’s third album at the album release tonight will support Eric Anderson and his contributors, most if not all are neighbors of (presumably) you and us! Head over to The Croc to take in the live experience for yourself.

9/15 Cataldo / Loch Lomond / Land of Pines @ The Crocodile :: 8:00 p.m. $8

September 13, 2011

Wait, What? Minus the Bear is Playing Where? MTB at Eastlake’s Little Water Cantina Tonight

Not since Miniature Tigers inexplicably added Eastlake’s Azteca to their tour a couple years back have we been so confused, yet excited by music news in Seattle’s water-loving neighborhood in the heart of the city.

As the Seattle Met and others are reporting, local favorites Minus the Bear will be playing Eastlake’s more upscale Mexican-inspired restaurant tonight. The band will be playing Little Water Cantina‘s patio on Eastlake Ave tonight. Apparently Eastlake Mexican restaurants are the new Neumos.

According to the restaurant, “the party starts at 6:30 and will involve all-night taco specials” and more. Expect to hear a wide-variety of selections from the band’s decade-long catalog during their roughly hour-long set. If you can’t make it tonight and/or are more excited about seeing the band in a slightly more traditional venue, you can catch the band’s ten year anniversary show at the Showbox on November 11.

9/13 Minus the Bear @ Little Water Cantina :: 2865 Eastlake Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98102 :: 6:30 :: All Ages

September 12, 2011

Downtempo Grooves with Thievery Corporation Tonight at The Moore

After seeing groups like Toro Y Moi at Bumbershoot, we’ve been in the mood for music that’s a little more electronic in nature. Enter, Thievery Corporation.

Their fusion of reggae, bossa nova, jazz and electronic music made Thievery Corporation the kings of downtempo since the late 90s. They even made it onto the famed soundtrack from Zach Braff’s debut film, Garden State, in 2004. Chill, relaxing yet politically charged, Thievery Corporation will get you groovin’ tonight at the Moore with Los Amigos and Invisible.

9/12 Thievery Corporation / Los Amigos / Invisible @ The Moore :: Tickets are $36 :: Doors at 7:30 PM :: All Ages

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