Archive for ‘Review’

November 25, 2014

SEA live Spotlight: Hypnotic Grooves from Elliot Moss Debut, Highspeeds

In our line of work hobby, we come across a proverbial {insert Thanksgiving word here} cornucopia of great emerging artists. Occasionally we come across such an exceptional talent that causes us to break from our standard week-of their Seattle show preview posts. For such burst-at-the-seams-if-we-don’t-share moments we’re kick-starting a brand new series on the blog called SEA live Spotlight. Up first, we introduce you to Elliot Moss.

He’s one of those rare combinations of singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, which seems like entirely too much talent for one person. Hailing from New York, he is already making a splash with his debut album, Highspeeds, and opening for the Cold War Kids on a national tour (which will be coming through Seattle in February). Much like Washed Out, Elliot recorded and mixed an excellent record largely on his own. Of course he did.


Highspeeds features dark, chic grooves suitable for everything from a long nighttime drive, an afternoon of studying or a sophisticated dinner party. The album’s slow, slinky beats drive layers of swaying keyboard and synth melodies, topped with Elliot’s downbeat lyrics – a blend that flawlessly balances background ambiance and intriguing digital ditties.

Faraday Cage, one of the standout tracks on the album, perfectly encapsulates Elliot’s style. The song is eerie and hypnotic, with Elliot’s breathy voice acting as the spotlight that slowly fades in and out of the backdrop of lilting synth and jazzy percussion.

We also love the title track, Highspeeds. It features Elliot’s layered vocal tracks to highlight the deeply personal lyrics, some trance-inducing looping and a few outer space style flourishes. The song feels expansive yet personal, perfectly matching the song’s sentiment of letting go.

Really, you should check out the album for the full experience. It’s a great listen from beginning to end, and you’ll instantly want to hit replay once the album finishes.

Of course, if you enjoy what you hear, head over to Showbox to get tickets for his opening slot supporting Cold War Kids on Friday, February 20.

August 31, 2014

Bumbershoot-out: Big Star’s Third vs. Pickwick

Another day at Bumbershoot, another opportunity to double-book yourself for the same time slot. It’s easy to feel conflicted at festivals where there’s so much great music to see and so little time in the day. Today is no exception, with a really tough decision facing us during the 8:00 hour.


DAY 2: Big Star’s Third (8:00 PM, Starbucks Stage) vs. Pickwick (8:15 PM, Fisher Green Stage)

Big Star might be the most important band you’ve never heard of. Formed in the early 1970s, the band has been hugely influential to other acts you may have heard of: REM, The Replacements, Teenage Fan Club, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Flaming Lips, Wilco and the Afghan Wigs, just to name a few. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, including distribution snafus, the radio trends of the time and in-band fighting paring down the foursome to just two in a matter of years, Big Star wasn’t privy to the limelight like they deserved. However, they did get quite popular in the UK in the late ’70s and have been picking up steam everywhere ever since. For good reason, they’ve have been referred to as “America’s #1 cult band” by Revolver. After the unfortunate passing of frontman Alex Chilton and bassist Andy Hummel in 2010, original drummer Jody Stephens pieced together a notable lineup to play Big Star’s third record for the (now) adoring masses. And rumor has it, a few very special guests will join the band on stage this evening.

That’s why Big Star narrowly beats out local funk favorites, Pickwick, in today’s Bumbershoot-out. Don’t get us wrong – Pickwick is fantastic. Originally they started as a local indie-folk group that had trouble getting much traction in the scene. But then, as a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly, the band when through a metamorphosis – or at least a musical epiphany – and mixed in some funk and soul into their craft. Voila, a star is born. Unassuming frontman Galen Disston has a powerful, emotive voice that suits the band’s style perfectly. And as if that isn’t reason enough to enjoy Pickwick, local Grammy winner Kory Kruckenberg mans the vibraphone and produces the band’s albums.

See, tough decision, right? But history has the edge here so make sure you catch at least some of Big Star’s set. But really this is a win-win situation.

May 12, 2014

The 3 Best Bets of the Week

A new week, a fresh top three.

Let us know who we should be featuring in the future by sending limited characters our way via Twitter and Facebook.

5/13 (Tuesday) Gardens & Villa @ Barboza

Synth-heavy, highly danceable retro pop from Santa Barbara

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December 11, 2013

Music + Sports, and Why Seattle Is Boycotting Beats

A commercial for Beats by Dr. Dre that aired during the Seahawks vs. 49ers game last weekend has pretty much all of Seattle up in arms. The commercial portrayed Seahawks fans as violent, hateful fanatics bedecked in blue and hot green while the 49ers quarterback pops on his headphones to drown out the death threats, put-downs, cooler smashing and general rabble rousing from the crowd. And not surprisingly, Seahawks fans are now boycotting the headphones.

If there’s one thing Seattleites love as much as their music, it’s their Seahawks. But this commercial seems to be mistaking passion for hatefulness. Sure, put-downs and heckling is a part of sports, but the SLM team thinks Beats has taken things a couple steps too far. The overall concept for the commercial is smart, but the execution is abysmal.

If you’re wishing for some new headphones for Christmas, we sure hope it isn’t a set of Beats.

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September 5, 2013

Best of Bumbershoot 2013 – KEXP Music Lounge Edition

We know that most people who head to Bumbershoot spend most of their time at the big stages enjoying the scheduled agenda of musical acts as advertised. And why not? Those sets are the real deal!

But we can’t help ducking into the KEXP Secret Music Lounge here and there to catch a more abbreviated and intimate performance by a selection of our festival favorites. Since not everyone at Bumbershoot gets to attend these small, on-air performances, we took the liberty of capturing a few shots of what goes on visually behind what goes out over the KEXP airwaves.

September 4, 2013

Best of Bumbershoot 2013 in Photos

Another Bumbershoot has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still relishing the great music we enjoyed with the masses all weekend.

We scurried from stage to stage, soaked in the sets, braved the photo pits and have since pulled together some photographic highlights for your viewing (and relishing?) enjoyment. (Click on any image for the full screen version.)

Wishing for a sneak peek from the KEXP Secret Music Lounge? Never fear – those are coming your way tomorrow! (Update: and are now just one click away.)

May 1, 2013

Kris Orlowski Reaches for Such Great Heights with New Cover


We just got a lovely note from local songsmith, Kris Orlowski, sharing a new cover he did of the much lauded “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service. His version is ethereal and moving compared to the original quick-tempo, digitized original, and we think you’ll enjoy it.

Check it out below and let us know what you think – did Kris do the song justice?

On a related note, Kris is hitting the road for a quick West Coast tour with Sara Watkins. Be sure to check them out if you’ll be on the road, too!

September 2, 2012

Bumbershoot Day 1 in Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are several photos from the first day of Bumbershoot for you to enjoy.

The Cosmetics


Sera Cahoone

King Khan & The Shrines

The Barr Brothers

Heartless Bastards


September 6, 2011

Random Reflections: Our Thoughts on the New Priorities of Bumbershoot 2011

While there are certainly those who’ve been outspoken about the lack of relevant big name acts (sorry Hall & Oates) at Bumbershoot 2011, we’re seeing the silver lining in the fact that local acts have been given access to a potentially larger and more appreciative audience.

While the Black Eyed Peas or Katy Perrys from previous years drew in thousands of screaming fans, the presence of mainstream radio enthusiasts didn’t translate into increased interest in what makes Seattle music festivals so great – The intermix of homegrown local talent with lauded artists (musical and otherwise) from all corners of the world.

The lack of pop radio powerhouses, outside of Wiz Khalifa and a few others, brought an admittedly smaller crowd. Of those in attendance, however, a larger percentage was at Seattle Center to experience the variety of all Bumbershoot has to offer. From visual art to comedy to film to theater to music and beyond, at Bumbershoot 2011 there was certainly something to keep most everyone happy.

Could the festival have scored a few more buzz bands to help the festival’s reputation and attendance? Certainly. But all in all, with a widespread variety of acts ranging from Little Dragon (see our Day 2 recap) to Charles Bradley (see our Day 3 recap), we fully support One Reel’s initiative to focus on smaller bands and not spend exorbitant amounts on disappointing sets like Bob Dylan’s from 2010.

Be sure to check out our Bumbershoot 2011 coverage.

September 6, 2011

Scenes from Bumbershoot Day 3

We’d be lying if we said we woke up Monday morning feeling anything but drained. Sure, we were excited about getting to spend another day outside in gorgeous weather listening to some amazing musicians but we needed some serious extra energy to get us through the day.

Luckily for us, the performers we were lucky enough to see on Day 3 at Bumbershoot had more than enough on-stage dynamism to power the entire city for at least the day. To say there wasn’t a shortage of charisma and showmanship among the day’s best bets would be a gross understatement.

Keep on scrolling to see some of our favorite shots of the day’s very best acts and don’t forget to skim through all of our Bumbershoot 2011 coverage here.

Kicking the day off with interpretive dancing and assured gesturing recalling the Andrew Wood-era of Seattle frontmen, Daniel Blue and the rest of Motopony played to an appreciative crowd, many of whom had just rolled out of bed minutes earlier.

While area hipsters were waking up from the floors and futons across Seattle, mom and dad were starting their day off with Seattle folk band The Legendary Oaks at the Starbucks stage.

There are simply no words that can sum up the raw power and emotional force that is seeing Charles Bradley live. As one of our friends mentioned, this guy is “the real deal.” The 63-year-old “Screaming Eagle of Soul” is a performer you absolutely must see live to fully appreciate. KEXP’s forthcoming video of his music lounge performance should tide you over until he’s back in town. We’ll be sure to add the link once it’s live.

For a city that’s notoriously stationary at shows, Fitz and The Tantrums worked their new-soul charm and had the entire KEXP music lounge dancing and clapping along to every saxophone-driven tune.

What Sharon Van Etten’s set lacked in energy, she more than made up for with beautiful tales of loss and heartbreak.

With sets nearly as full of humorous asides as they are with impressive fretwork and dynamic percussion, Ravenna Woods certainly knows how to put on a fun show. One gem of a joke from drummer Matt Badger: “Why did the farmer start a band? He was tired of Haulin’ Oats.” The band then jokingly, with a splash of sincerity, checked to see if Darryl Hall or John Oates were in the audience to make sure they hadn’t offended the legends of yesteryear and headliners of the evening.

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