Archive for January, 2013

January 28, 2013

Best of Seattle Live Music [Week of 1/28]

Quite a variety this week. From a solo set from a favorite former Seattleite to relative newcomers to legends from Seattle and beyond, this week has something for fans of many styles and many geographies. As always, check out our calendar for a longer look at what has caught our eyes.

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1/29 (Tuesday) – Father John Misty @ Neptune Theatre

The lauded, swagger-filled (post Fleet Foxes) alter-ego of Josh Tillman of Foxes and J. Tillman (solo) fame returns to the U District as a headliner two days after his pre-The Walkmen set

2/1 (Friday) – Brite Lines w/ Pocket Panda @ Columbia City Theater

Poppy, self-described “electic, Electro-Americana” purveyors Brite Lines play with fellow fans of lushly orchestrated folk-tinged melodies (and fellow Seattleites) Pocket Panda

2/1 (Friday) and 2/2 (Saturday) – Ken Stringfellow w/ The Maldives @ The Tractor

Local power pop legend of The Posies and Big Star fame (among many others), Ken Stringfellow plays two highly anticipated nights trading headlining duties with The Maldives

1/31 (Thursday) – 2/3 (Sunday) – Dr. John and His All-New Band @ Jazz Alley

New Orleans’ iconic growl-voiced pianist brings his eclectic blend of blues, soul, rock, pop and jazz to the Emerald City with some of the finest side-players around today

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January 21, 2013

Best of Seattle Live Music [Week of 1/21]

Happy Monday, music lovers! If you need an escape from all the fog we’ve been experiencing in the Puget Sound region, look no farther than your local music venue. This week features a few stellar shows.

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1/23 (Wednesday) – Pinback @ The Showbox
Complex, instrument-heavy arrangements of progressive indie-rock from San Diego.

1/23 (Wednesday) – Edmund Wayne @ Tractor
Local group featuring pretty harmonies and sad melodies with a hint of twang.

1/27 (Sunday) – The Walkmen @ Neptune Theatre
An energetic burst of ever-evolving rock with vintage sensibilities from NYC/Philly.

January 16, 2013

It’s Been Real, Easy Street Queen Anne! Yo La Tengo Plays Out Seattle Music Staple

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An era in Seattle music is coming to a close – literally. We’re bidding adieu to the beloved Queen Anne location of Seattle’s favorite music peddler, Easy Street Records. The store has been a staple for Emerald City music lovers looking for a clever gift for a friend, for Seattleites looking for the latest album from any artist imaginable, for vinyl-philes looking for interesting finds to add to their collection, and for live music aficionados looking for an intimate in-store performance with a favorite artist.

Easy Street isn’t gone forever, though. You can still visit their West Seattle location – for downtown dwellers, it’s a longer drive or bus ride, but totally worth it. The West Seattle store will maintain the lo-fi DIY feel that we all grew to know and love at the Queen Anne location.

The Queen Anne location closes this Friday, 1/18. Experimental indie-pop legends, Yo La Tengo, will be sending the store off in style with one final in-store performance, which will be sure to include some new songs off their brand new album, “Fade.” (Fitting for a store-closing event, eh?)

Farewell, Easy Street Queen Anne from C. Monda on Vimeo.

1/18 Yo La Tengo @ Easy Street Records (Queen Anne) :: 7:00 PM :: FREE :: ALL AGES!

January 14, 2013

Seattle’s Best Shows of the Week [Jan. 14]

Welcome back to a new week of great music in the Emerald City! See below for this week’s best shows.

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1/14 (Monday) – Chelsea Wolfe @ The Triple Door
Female singer-songwriter from a family of musicians, known for her doom-drenched folk.

1/18 (Friday) – Yo La Tengo @ Easy Street Records (Last Queen Anne In-store EVER)
Bid farewell to the Queen Anne Easy Street location with the popular experimental indie pop group who’s sound ranges from fuzzy alt rock to trancey indie jams and everything in between.

1/18 (Friday) – Two Gallants @ Barboza
Bay Area-based lo-fi indie rock duo that is both melodic and gritty.

1/20 (Sunday) – BellaMaine @ The Crocodile
Poppy folk rock with he/she vocals from Anacortes releasing their new album.

January 11, 2013

Fresh Starts, Gorgeous Mermaids and Leonard Cohen: Words w/ ON AN ON

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Nothing like a story of reinvention to kick off a new year of interviews. This week, we follow up our conversation with PonyHomie’s Brando Feist with a chat with a “new” favorite artist who falls somewhere on the dreamy, electronic rock spectrum. This week, we were lucky enough to catch up with ON AN ON‘s Nate Eiesland to discuss his band’s phoenix-like beginnings, their new sound and what to expect from their upcoming show with San Francisco’s Geographer this Sunday.

Everything we’ve read about ON AN ON mentions the seemingly highly inauspicious start of Scattered Trees breaking up just weeks before scheduled studio time. What ultimately made you decide to move forward with a new band rather than taking one of the other presumably simpler alternatives?

The choice was pretty clear when we were faced with the opportunity to start fresh. The three of us were interested in making music that may have been too far of a leap for Scattered Trees to make sonically. We were ready to make something that was more satisfying to us creatively than what we were doing at the time. It was a perfect storm for us to be able to make a record and to follow our intuition without having any loyalty to a former sound or image. We knew the music that we were making would define everything else for us, rather than the other way around. That was exciting to us.

Was the dreamier atmosphere and fuller electronic instrumentation of Give In something that was going to happen with the next album whether it was Scattered Trees or is the shift something that came from this being a new band?

I think a shift was inevitable, but the freedom that came from starting a new band gave us an opportunity to push further and be more adventurous than we would have been before. The three of us see eye to eye creatively, and we’ve been playing music together for the past 10 years. We work well together, but this was something entirely new to us. Having a clean slate was a challenge, but a really exhilarating one. We were like animals in the studio, we relied on instinct rather than opinion. We were hungry for some immediacy. We didn’t want to self edit too much and end up over processing every decision. We agreed we’d rather have a record alive with vulnerability and flaws than something perfectly executed but neutered. Perfection is boring.

Your lyrics have long explored very personal, often immensely heavy subjects. What themes does the new record cover?

There are a lot of different things going on lyrically in Give In. I’ve been writing about life and death, but from a new place emotionally. It’s been interesting to see my perspective on something so big and important change over time. That shift comes out in Give In. I’m also not as depressed now, and that comes out in the songs too. It’s not a concept record or anything, but it feels like one sonically in some way if that makes any sense. We were really in another world recording this record. We didn’t think about anything else for a month straight.

How did you three settle on ON AN ON as the band name?

A gorgeous mermaid said it to me in a dream.

You mention in the Scattered Trees “Moving on” post that recording Give In drastically changed your approach to making records. How so?

In the past I tended to overwork things I think. I went too deep into my own ideas, and I didn’t have the know-how to make it back out without shredding myself in the process. That’s so much better with ON AN ON. Dave (Newfeld) created an amazing creative atmosphere for us in the studio. There was this sense of urgency, but we knew we didn’t have to prove ourselves to anyone at the same time. We were just creating and exploring. He has an incredible knack for pulling out what’s unique about you as an artist and then capturing those moments when everything is out of the way.

What artists would you cite as some of the most prominent in your development as musicians?

Leonard Cohen is at the top of my list. Songs of Love and Hate changed my life in some way that I can’t really describe. I also discovered the Notwist as a teenager and I haven’t gone 3 months without listening to Neon Golden all the way through since.

We’re shamefully under-informed when it comes to great bands playing in Chicago and/or Minneapolis. Who shouldn’t we miss when they come to Seattle or if we find ourselves in your hometown(s)?

Out of Chicago you should check out Supreme Cuts and Moon Boots for awesome electronic sets. Some good shoegazy bands there are Radar Eyes and Bare Mutants. In Minneapolis there’s Brother Ali, Dark Dark Dark, Dial-up, and if you are ever in Minneapolis on a Sunday or Monday night go to a bar called Bunker’s and catch Dr. Mombo’s Combo for some amazing funk/R&B that will blow your mind.

If you lived in a parallel universe where all bands in 2013 had to become tribute bands, which band would you choose as your new identity for the year?

Great question. I’d have to go with the Beatles. It may be an answer you get a lot, but if I seriously had to perform only Beatles songs every night, it’d make for a good year.

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

We will probably eat a fantastic meal somewhere and then stick some gum on the wall in Post Alley.

What should people expect from your set this Sunday?

A giant wet dream on Monday morning.

1/13 (Sunday) – Geographer with On An On + Haunted Summer @ Barboza // 8 pm // 21+ // $10

January 7, 2013

Best Shows of the Week [Jan 7]

The first full week of 2013 brings some stellar shows our way. As always, scroll down for some home-cooked descriptors and feast your eyes on some excellent videos. Be sure to check out our always-expanding upcoming events calendar as well to see what shows have caught our collective eyes so far this year.

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1/7 (Monday) – Chris Brokaw and Jennifer O’Connor @ The Crocodile

Pensive, driving folk rock from some of the most-respected touring musicians around

1/11 (Friday) – Pleasureboaters with Absolute Monarchs @ Sunset

Quite possibly the best spastic, freakout rock line-up of the year

1/13 (Sunday) – Geographer with On An On @ Barboza

Epic electronic rock in an intimate setting

January 4, 2013

Breakups, Death and Dance Music: An Interview with PonyHomie

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We’ve written about PonyHomie several times over the past couple years. But today, in honor of the release of their new album, Remable, and their headlining show tonight at Chop Suey, we thought you’d want to hear it straight from the horse’s – err, Pony’s – mouth.

We caught up with Brando Feist, vocalist and synth master for the dark electro-dance trio to learn a little more about the new album, the band’s creative process, and what we can expect to see at the show tonight.

SEA live MUSIC: What can fans expect from the new album, Remable?

Brando: Remable is a bit of an odd record, to be honest. Though many of the songs are very dark lyrically, the melodies are deceptively uplifting. People quite often mistake some of our darkest, saddest songs for love songs or happy tunes. We’re just happy to have people listening and having their own take on these songs that the three of us now know so well.

SLM: Do you guys collaborate on songwriting, or does one of you do most of the heavy lifting?

Brando: Our writing process has always varied… typically I [Brando] will have an idea or a new keyboard effect and show Mike [drummer] and Ramon [bassist], ask them what they think, and take it from there. I usually write lyrics and song structure by myself to really focus on the content. When I feel like the song is completed on my end, I will send it off to the guys to have them start thinking of parts. The hard work starts when we all three put our ideas together to nail down drums and bass parts. Often what Mike and Ramon come up with is nothing close to what I originally envisioned, but I am always happily surprised by the results.

SLM: Where do you draw most of your inspiration from for PonyHomie’s music?

Brando: Lyrically, I typically draw inspiration from loss and sadness, depressingly enough. Loved ones I’ve lost in one way or another. I’ve written about death and made it sound like a breakup, and I’ve written about breakups and made it sound like death. I try to have a sense of ambiguity in my lyrics to let the listeners decide for themselves what they want the song to be. Musically, my inspiration comes from new music. When I hear the latest tracks from my favorite artists, that’s when I am drawn to my keyboard and pushed to write something new.

SLM: Can you tell us a little about the recording process? Did you do all the recording in Seattle?

Brando: All of the recording was done in Seattle. When we originally recorded our demo to send to Scott Colburn (our producer), we figured that he would like to rerecord almost everything for the album. We were very excited that he thought much of what we had sounded great as is, so we decided to focus on turning our demo into a cohesive album. We kept all of the original keyboard parts, recorded in my studio apartment, and many of the bass parts that were recorded at Mike’s house. For the rerecording of the drums and vocals, we headed to Gravelvoice Studio, where Scott helped us finalize our tracks.

SLM: How did you decide to focus on synth, rather than guitar, as the main instrument for the band?

Brando: I had been playing guitar for many years, and had started to lose interest. I was finding it difficult to write new songs that sounded like new songs. I wanted to start focusing on more electronic and dance driven music, mainly because that was what I had been primarily listening to at that time. I purchased the Nord and immediately began writing songs I couldn’t possibly have thought of with guitar. I still love playing guitar, but I continue to base even our most guitar centric songs around the strength of the keyboard.

SLM: You use some really great vocal effects – how did you come up with the right balance?

Brando: I have no idea. There was a lot of tinkering involved. I played with the settings until I found something that sounded great or made me laugh and I stuck with it. If I thought it might work, I used it and didn’t look back.

SLM: Do you have anything special planned for your show at Chop Suey?

Brando: We have a couple of old tricks up our sleeves. They aren’t necessarily things we haven’t done before, but I think people will get a kick out of it.

SLM: If you were to arrange a national tour, who would be your dream bands to play with?

Brando: I’ve thought about this question a lot, and I don’t have a really good answer. I can think of some absolutely amazing bands that I would love to meet and to play shows with, but we wouldn’t necessarily fit on a bill well together. I could write a list, but it would be several pages long…

SLM: What is the story behind the bandannas?

Brando: I wanted a give a sense of anonymity to us as musicians… to let the audience focus on the music and what was being played rather than who was playing it. I never really wanted to be an anonymous band, because that just seemed like far too much work to hide our identities from the friends who were coming to see us play. The first couple shows we played, we kept the bandannas on the whole show, but by now they’ve become more of a symbol for us.

SLM: What music is on heavy rotation for the PonyHomie crew right now?

Brando: Since meeting with Scott Colburn, I’ve been checking out a lot of his other production work. My favorites come from the Portland band Nurses, and Brooklyn based Prince Rama. Both fantastic bands. I also have gotten very into a band called Royal Bangs… their album “Let It Beep” is phenomenal.

1/4 PonyHomie / Redwood Plan / Ever-So-Android / Jabon @ Chop Suey :: Tickets are $8 :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: 21+

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