Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Brite Futures Celebrate ‘Dark Past’ Tonight at Sole Repair Shop

Brite Futures certainly got a lot of buzz when their electrified pop gems accompanied their old name, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, but years after the big rebrand, the young dance masters are back on the top of their game with a highly anticipated new album. If that was enough to pique your interest, the icing on the cake is the release show for their new album, Dark Past, will set you back zero dollars.

Head to Sole Repair on Pike tonight to take in the live experience for yourself and be sure to check out the event page for all the critical details. (Space will be extremely limited.)

In the meantime, be sure to check out their excellent new video for their lead single below.

10/31 Brite Futures / The Tempers @ Sole Repair :: Free :: 9:00 PM

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October 25, 2011

Audio Interview with Jack Conte of Pomplamoose, Playing Triple Door Tomorrow

The interwebz has been vital in thrusting a few otherwise unheard of musicians into the spotlight in the past decade. Bands who are able to use the platform in new and creative ways have been able to establish nationwide followings before even thinking about touring. Tomorrow, one such act will be playing at the Triple Door.

Pomplamoose, known for their creatively edited video songs on You Tube, is made up of Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte. The two have employed clever covers of widely known pop songs (Single Ladies, anyone?) as vehicles to drive awareness of their own original tunes.

We sent a few questions over to Pomplamoose in hopes of getting a few written responses from the band in advance of their Wednesday performance at the Triple Door, but we got something even better. Jack Conte took the time to record an audio interview for us, which we’ve posted below. Take a listen and definitely check out Pomplamoose’s videos. And please say hello if you see us at the show!

10/26 Pomplamoose / Louise and Genevieve @ Triple Door :: Doors at 6:00 PM :: Tickets are $16 :: All Ages

October 20, 2011

There’s Still Time! Grab Your City Arts Tickets for the Best Shows in Town Starting Tonight

As we’ve said many times before, we feel incredibly lucky that the city we call home is exceptionally rich with great live music options. On certain occasions, and this weekend certainly fits the bill, this trite statement hardly begins to scratch the surface. The lineup that City Arts has brought to Seattle has once again tipped the situation to one of an embarrassment of riches.

While we’ve fawned over the schedule for weeks, we feel we’d be remiss to not remind of you of some great options that kick off in a matter of hours. While, nearly all shows (music and otherwise) should be quite enjoyable, we’ll highlight a few that we feel will rise above the rest. Of course, with shows selling out (thanks at least partially to Groupon), the good news is that even your second or third choice should still treat you quite well.

(In case you weren’t keen on clicking through our hyperlinks above, you can find the full schedule at: http://www.cityartsfest.com/schedule.)

Thursday

Top Pick: The Long Winters + Campfire OK + Cobirds Unite + Cataldo @ Showbox (Market) :: Doors at 7pm

Runner-Up: The Felice Brothers + Gill Landry + Shelby Earl + Gabriel Mintz @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 7pm

Third Pick: The Cops + Birthday Suits + Strong Killings +Nazca Lines @ The Comet :: Doors at 7pm

Friday

Top Pick: Built to Spill + Disco Doom + Seapony @ The Moore :: Doors at 7pm

Runner Up: Sons of Warren Oates + Smokey Brights + Joseph Giant + Bryan John Appleby @ Rendezvous :: Doors at 7pm

Third Pick: Pickwick + Yuni in Taxco + Viper Creek Club & guests @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 7pm

Saturday

Top Pick: The Hold Steady + Grand Archives @ The Neptune :: Doors at 9pm

Runner Up: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down + Grand Hallway + Lemolo + Kris Orlowski @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 7pm

Third Pick: Mudhoney + Hot Bodies in Motion + Thee Emergency + Lovesick Empire @ Neumos :: Doors at 7pm

October 18, 2011

Hey Marseilles Goes High Class with the Seattle Symphony Tonight

As one of the bands that we’ve had the pleasure to see improve right under our noses over the past few years, Hey Marseilles continues to evolve beyond expectations. Tonight, the band is joining forces with the Seattle Symphony for a performance that (according to the concert preview) not only promises to be “one-of-a-kind” but also promises to pay homage to “local music legends, including Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana.”

Hey Marseilles’ own impressive strings plus trumpet section will get the added boost as conductor Ludovic Morlot and the full force of the Seattle Symphony plus a few additional players will share the stage with the local orchestral pop group. HM will go on after the Orchestra performs “newly-commissioned pieces inspired by Nirvana, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix, composed by William Brittelle, Cuong Vu and Vladimir Nikolaev.”

As you’d expect, you’ll be paying more for this mega-sized HM performance but if you’re a music fan, you won’t want to miss this unique evening.

10/18 Hey Marseilles + Seattle Symphony and friends @ Benaroya Hall :: 7:30 PM :: $19 – $58

October 14, 2011

Optimism, Broken Glasses and School Days: An Interview with Matt Pond PA

If Matt Pond were in your social circle, he’d be that one friend who reassures you that he’s “doing fine” so often that you actually start to worry more than if he’d said nothing in the first place. As a critical darling and fan favorite during his early career, Matt Pond’s band originally from Pennsylvania, aptly called Matt Pond PA started to hit some rough patches, ranging from band restructuring to online vitriol, several albums in.

As Matt tells us in an interview this week, he’s taken this all in stride. “In the new computer world, there’s an ample amount of reaction to everything we all do… Good or bad, I’m not worried about what people think anymore.” As fans from the beginning, we’re pulling for Matt and still appreciate his ability to evoke that certain mood of sadness mixed with optimism like few others.

Continue on to read our full interview and head to Neumos tomorrow to take in the live experience for yourself. Local favorite Rocky Votolato will headline.

Your early records in particular almost served as odes to the beauty and wonder of nature intermixed with cleverly worded statements about human relationships. How has moving to the city affected how you find inspiration for your songs?

I moved to the city 6 or so years ago, moved to Hudson last year and put everything into storage before this tour. I have no idea where I’m going when I get home.

It’s good for me to shift perspectives, to see to physical world in different ways. The gypsy juxtaposition works.

True inspiration comes from inside, in each of all of our own worlds. I sometimes feel like I might be a little overpopulated.

How has the balance of subject matter shifted over the years?

Oddly, I’ve become more optimistic.

Songs, shows, band members, albums. It’s not all made of magic. And yet, I don’t want anything else. I’m wicked happy with what I’ve got.

How does your latest EP continue themes from your previous albums and in which ways does it explore different territory?

The latest EP is about letting go of the past. And perhaps a degree of partying in getting it done. Partying can mean nothing more than one lonely fist in the air. Letting loose, however you do it, is a big mantra of mine.

Sometimes people get confused about what I’m talking about. Sometimes I’m even not sure exactly what I’m trying to convey.

Because my/your/our world is so constantly and quickly changing, meanings tend to multiply and divide. Like crazy.

A lot of your music seems almost perfect for this time of the year, especially in cloudy Seattle. What role does geography and climate play in the moods you try to create in your songs?

Autumn is the heaviest season for me. I feel the relief of summer and still, the weight of phantom school.

Tangent. School shouldn’t be as bad as it is. With the belligerent devaluing of education, it shouldn’t be as bad as it’s going to become.

In the height of my teen isolation, I would go home after class just to watch the gold color of New Hampshire light fade into black. Self-indulgent and d-grade poetry, for sure. Yet, it was the first time I traveled beyond my own mind.

How did you first meet up with Rocky and how’s the current tour going so far?

I met Rocky years ago. We were doing a few shows together. I was too shy to say anything more than a mumble.

Last spring we did something akin to a solo tour. I had the best time I’ve ever had traveling in a van and softly rocking. Rocky and I wrote songs together, argued about religion and consciousness and everything. He’s stuck being my friend for life.

The current run is great. Although it hasn’t been easy with these broken bones. But I’ve never seen a group of people work harder to make something come together. Rocky, April, Chris Hansen, Heather McIntosh, John Courage and Dan Ford. They are the balls.

What should people expect from your show at Neumos on October 15th?

I broke my leg at the beginning of this tour. I didn’t want to quit. At the same time, I didn’t want to put on on a hobbled live show.

Personally, I think I’m playing better and harder than I have in my entire life.

Sure, I’m sitting on a spray-painted gold shower seat. And sure, it’s not always awesome, tripping and scuffling my way across the states. But I feel good, I feel strong. If it’s all internal, I think I really like a good fight.

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

I’m going to buy glasses. What I have now are some scratched up bits of semi-translucent plastic with worn black frames. They treat my nose as if it were a slide and only allow me to see what they want me to see.

Any Seattle musicians or bands that you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

Telekinesis. Love them. And Rocky Votolato. Have you heard of him? He’s the balls.

What’s next for you and the band?

Since I have the leg thing, I’ve been plotting and writing an album I can properly move to. Someday, I will once again be nailing a dance step or two to the floor.

10/15 Rocky Votolato / Matt Pond PA / Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground @ Neumos :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $14 :: All Ages

October 12, 2011

Marching to Their Own Beat, The Drums Bring Youthful Energy to The Croc Tonight

After a certain number of years, being a music writer is a bit like working at a high school. You keep getting older but the kids never seem to age. If you’re a janitor and your name happens to be Noodles, those kids will invite you to join their band and you’ll soon catapult to international pop punk fame… but we digress.

Anyway… one such band, among many really, that make us feel like dinosaurs is The Drums. Like their friends and past tourmates Surfer Blood, the band is made up of four young guys who seem just weeks from their high school days. If you’re a fan of poppy, surf rock, then you won’t want to miss their show at The Croc tonight.

10/12 The Drums / Veronica Falls / io echo @ The Crocodile :: 8pm :: $12

October 11, 2011

English Electro-Pop with Metronomy Tonight at Neumos

While we absolutely adore our local Seattle bands, we also appreciate when musicians travel from afar to share their music with our fair city. We make an extra effort to see bands on tour from other countries because with the cost of travel, visa headaches and the great music they have to offer, they tend to give it 110% on stage.

England’s electro-pop quartet Metronomy is gracing us with their presence tonight at Neumos. The group, known throughout England for their remixes of other popular songs from artists like Gorillaz, Goldfrapp, Ladytron and more, has just released their third studio album of original work, The English Riviera. Their music is poppy and catchy, and the band is fun to watch live. The group now boasts former Lightspeed Champion drummer Anna Prior, and frontman Joseph Mount provides a strong stage presence.

Head up to Capitol Hill tonight, and don’t miss opening acts form New Villager and Noddy.

10/11 Metronomy / New Villager / Noddy @ Neumos :: Tickets are $12 :: Doors at 7:00 PM :: 21+

October 9, 2011

Dust Off Your Dancin’ Kicks: Foster The People Tonight at Showbox SoDo

We know Seattle isn’t known for dancing audiences at shows. Usually, we all sway ever so slightly to the music being played on stage, which sort of freaks out some out of state musicians. But there are some shows where you just know standing still isn’t an option. For those of you ready to dance, tonight’s recommended show is for you!

With deceivingly happy-go-lucky-sounding lyrics (have you really listened to Pumped Up Kicks?), dancey keyboards and singalong choruses, Foster the People create hooks that make their music nearly impossible to get out of your head. As fun and poppy as their music is, the LA-based group focuses on very dark subject matter. They’re like Peter Bjorn and John’s younger, troubled kid brother.

But dark or not, the show is sure to get everyone at Showbox SoDo moving, especially with Cults and Reptar opening.

10/9 Foster the People / Cults / Reptar @ Showbox SoDo :: Doors at 7:00 PM :: SOLD OUT

October 8, 2011

Seattle Reverb Fest: Gold Leaves and more in Ballard

You’d think that with the increasingly dreary weather, festival season is long behind us. But fear not, music lovers. Seattle still has a couple festivals left in it for the year. Next on the list of city festivals? Reverb – Seattle Weekly’s Ballard-based day-long musicpalooza.

Our favorite name on the schedule this year is Gold Leaves, who will be playing a set at Tractor Tavern at 11:00 PM. Seattle’s new favorite up-and-coming act offers a modern take on Americana indie rock, and recently packed the Croc. And if you have the stamina to stay up late enough, following Gold Leaves’ set will be Seattle chamber pop band Grand Hallway.

Check out the Reverb website for the full schedule and to find out how to get your wristband for the festival.

10/8 Reverb Festival in Ballard :: Tickets are $10 :: Festival starts at 1:30 PM

October 7, 2011

Discussing Blessings, Curses and Everything in Between with Chris Collingwood

We’ve always been fascinated and a little saddened by the fact that an artist’s creative work can become an albatross that hangs over them for the rest of their career. Few musicians have managed to recover from being pegged a “One Hit Wonder,” as quite often, it seems the one wildly overplayed song is hardly representative of the rest of their catalog.

For this very reason and more importantly, because we really enjoy quite a few of their songs and believe they’re talented musicians, we were happy to get some time with Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood to talk about that topic and more.

Fountains of Wayne, a group that we regularly defend as some of the best lyricists putting out hook-laden pop music today, will be playing The Crocodile tonight. As always scroll on to read our interview and get all of the pertinent show info. Be sure to watch the video for The Summer Place and check out other tracks from the band’s latest Sky Full of Holes if you like what you hear.

You and Adam are known for your ability to weave strong narratives through your songs. Are there other musicians or writers that you’d say have had the biggest influence on your style of writing lyrics?

I do read quite a bit, but I don’t think it’s the same set of skills you need to write a good novel that you need to make a three-minute pop song. For one thing, all my favorite writers are less interested in a coherent narrative than they are in electrifying language. Martin Amis is probably my favorite modern writer, and yet most of his books are more about the telling than the tale.

As far as other songwriters, I learn a lot from listening to people I admire. I think as I get older, I can appreciate a good turn of phrase or melodic hook, regardless of the context or delivery. You can learn a lot by tracing ideas back to the source, finding out who influenced your favorite contemporary writers and then in turn, who influenced them. Lately I’m revisiting some great songs by Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt.

We once got a stern lesson about the differences between a theme album and a concept album during a phone interview with Stephin Merrit of the Magnetic Fields. Given the band’s strong foundation of narrative-driven songs, has Fountains of Wayne explored the idea of doing a concept album… or theme album if we’re being strict with definitions?

I’m curious about what Mr. Merritt said. I read once where he said that when he’s writing an album, the first thing he does is visualize the poster for the theatrical production. I don’t know if that’s a concept or a theme. My friend Henning Ohlenbusch just did an amazing record called “Henning Goes To The Movies,” where he wrote songs about nine different movies that he liked for one reason or another. It holds together incredibly well, maybe because the rules he set out for himself were so strict that it really feels like a single piece.

I like other quasi-concept records, like “The Wall” and of course “Sgt. Pepper,” but in both of those cases, the concept is so loosely defined that it could have been applied after the fact. I should tell you that I hate musicals. Outside of a couple successful moments, I’ve never seen one that could sustain itself without feeling awkward and forced.

I guess that means I’m not cut out to make a concept album.

What’s the process that an idea goes through to become a source of lyrical inspiration?

It could be anything, really. Sometimes a turn of phrase suggests a character or a situation and then the rest of the song is built around it. In the more oblique ones, sometimes it just comes out all at once and other times I work hard to make it seem that way. And when it’s a mise-en-scene, like “Cemetery Guns,” it’s a matter of trying to fill out a three-dimensional space with enough detail to make the characters and scenario believable.

What should people expect from your show at the Crocodile on October 7th?

Well, we’re going to play some new songs, and probably some old ones. Also, sometimes one of us falls over.

A couple of years ago, we went to Harvey Danger’s final show (also at the Crocodile) and lead singer Sean Nelson made a comment after their radio hit “Flagpole Sitta” saying “Here’s to never having to play that song ever again!” By contrast, Matthew Caws and his bandmates in Nada Surf keep quite a distance from “Popular” and have re-emerged as a beloved indie rock act in large part thanks to 2003’s Let Go.

As you probably knew where this question was going by the time we mentioned Harvey Danger, we’ll get to the point – How do you all feel about “Stacy’s Mom” when it comes to thinking about the band at any level whether as an active group, when writing songs, considering “legacy” or anything else?

A blessing and a curse, for sure. A blessing because for a little while there, we occupied a space we had no business being in. A curse because it gave most people the impression that we’re a novelty act, and that’s not an easy thing for audiences to get past. It’s interesting that it’s almost become a rallying point for the real fans of the band to get indignant about people who only know that song.

Do any fond memories of Seattle come to mind from past tours or other experiences you’ve had with the city or its history?

Many of Adam’s and my college friends migrated to Seattle in the past 15 years, so whenever we visit it’s like a little college reunion. And Brian lived there for a while, so he’s got local ties as well. We always have a great time for a few hours at least. On my first trip ever to Seattle, it was sunny for an entire week and I got completely the wrong impression of the place. Now I know better.

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

I don’t think there’s much time to hang around on this trip. I’m looking forward to seeing my college roommate’s new baby.

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

Well, obviously it would be the Beatles, but that’s too easy. I also like the first two Rickie Lee Jones albums. Not only because they’re fantastic, but also because they’re so dense and layered that I hear something new each time.

What’s next for you and the band through end of the year?

We’re heading off to Europe in November and then shortly after that, back to Japan and Australia.

10/7 Fountains of Wayne / Mike Viola @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8pm :: $20

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