Remember how I told you Seattle country rebel Brent Amaker was working on a new project with VOX MOD? Well, looky loo! Today is the premiere of the first song "I'm the One." If you like it, you can download it here. Amaker is also having a birthday party this month—he and The Rodeo are throwing a party and playing live at the Triple Door on Friday, April 25th.
Robert Fripp is performing tonight with Slow Music at the Triple Door (he's also playing at Washington Hall May 25 with the League of Crafty Guitarists). In honor of this occasion, here are seven of his most memorable moments on record, as recollected by me in the last couple of hours. Your mileage may vary; if so, vent in the comments.
“King’s Lead Hat” (from Brian Eno’s 1977 album Before and After Science): Fripp takes a solo in Brian Eno’s hardest-rocking composition that never fails to set my eyeballs rolling around their sockets in ecstasy. The whole tune’s amazing, but when that Fripp steps into the spotlight at 3:16, it’s like he’s captured the god particle and is letting it bubble up to a heaven I don’t believe in. (Did you know that “King’s Lead Hat” is an anagram for “Talking Heads”? You are obligated by law to mention this factoid anytime you listen to this song in company.)
“St. Elmo’s Fire” (from Brian Eno’s 1975 album Another Green World): One of Fripp’s most emotionally fraught and frilly guitar parts; it’s seriously balletic and beautiful. (Could’ve easily put “I’ll Come Running” here, too.)
This charming poster by Zack Bolotin is somewhere between Dr. Seuss and a golden-age comic book. I expect a caped silhouette to fly across this skyline at any moment. More info at porchlightcoffee.com.
(Showbox at the Market) The first band from outside the Northwest to be signed to Sub Pop Records, Cincinnati’s Afghan Whigs and their grungy garage rock fit right in alongside their early-’90s labelmates. Fronted by whiskey-soaked sleazemuffin Greg Dulli (who also fronts side-project the Twilight Singers and is one half of the Gutter Twins with Mark Lanegan), the band explored more soulful territories and moved to major-label heights on Elektra in ’93 before amicably splitting in 2001. Since then, Afghan Whigs have reunited a few times, making it stick in 2012, and returning to Sub Pop for their first album in 16 years, Do to the Beast, out April 15—a release that maintains some of their savage soul backbone, but also stretches into varied territory, from itchy electronic-esque drivers to somber ballads.
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And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!
Last week I FINALLY, and gleefully, bought the LP reissue of the Hackamore Brick album, One Kiss Leads To Another, but the more I listen to it, the less I WANT to listen to it. Honestly, I've been on the fence about this album since I first heard it in the early '90s. I wasn't a fan then because I thought they were TOO Velvet Underground-y. Thing is, One Kiss Leads To Another is highly rated as an important record—it gets lip service as a "bridge" from the Velvet Underground to NYC punk. Uh, I guess. Hackamore, in places, does SOUND a lot like the Velvets, but it ain't EXACLTY filled with soon to be punk cliche—it's instead song-writer smart. Hearing the record now I think the group was prolly more rooted in folk and (ahem, I'm stretching here) prog; I hear the Youngbloods AND Canturbury in the track "And I Wonder." The only other track I dig, which might cross over as uh, punk, is the '60s garage pop killer "Zip Gun Woman."
Obviously they had SOMETHING basic and primal for 1971. And I hear it! Being dialed into the Velvets it's evident they were city boys, not wanna-be rural long hairs. I just don't know why it doesn't affect me! Maybe it's their occasional boner wilting happy good timin' pop which bugs me? GAH!! I'm a RECORD NERD so these are the kind of albums I LIVE to hear, but, save for a couple tracks, One Kiss Leads To Another leaves me ice cold.
If you were underwhelmed by the headliners announced today for Capitol Hill Block Party, maybe you'll be more excited about the lineup at Seaprog festival. (Didn't you hear? All the cool kids are getting into prog now. Magma logo tattoos are all the rage.) The second edition of this progressive-rock event happens June 21-22 at Columbia City Theater, but kicks off with a free preview show June 20 at the Royal Room.
Some of the highlights of this year's Seaprog include Quebec's super-smart King Crimson-oid unit Miriodor, LA Zeuhl heads Corima, Being John McLaughlin (a local tribute group to the legendary guitarist's godhead '70s outfit Mahavishnu Orchestra), Portland's the Mercury Tree, and Seattle interstellar rockers Midday Veil. According to the press release, "Seaprog’s focus is on progressive music of the here and now rather than the florid 'prog' stylings of yore. Following last year's highly successful debut, the 2014 festival will present more than a dozen remarkable bands whose diversity of approach illustrates just how far progressive rock has evolved since its origins in the 1960s."
You can purchase tickets here. Check out the full schedule after the jump.
Bad news for y'all AC/DC fans: Malcolm Young had a stroke.
More photos after the jump.
From the reaction of the people I follow on Facebook and Twitter, I appear to be in the minority, but then I think we've all been craving new material from Mikey Young and the gang since their fabulous full-length debut, Henge Beat, though the guys have hardly been silent since they released a digital-only collection of singles just last year, simply titled 7"s, which is far better than your usual assemblage of odds and sods.
As for the Manchester-inspired "Flesh War," it starts off like a lost Joy Division track with an in-your-face drumbeat before segueing into slipperier Magazine territory, in part because singer Dan Stewart has a bit of a Howard Devoto thing going on (the versatile Stewart also plays drums in UV Race). So far, so good.
Over the weekend, in some sand-blasted bro-infested hell pit in the Southern California desert, Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton reunited onstage for the first time in 12 years. If you haven't yet, and you like fish and grits and all that pimp shit, you can watch the whole 90-minute set below.
There's been a lot said about the lack of crowd connection, but consider that the majority of the crowd was 12 at best when Outkast was at its Speakerboxxx/The Love Below heights; the majority of people who enjoyed them in high school and such are too broke, old, or just over festival life to be up front spazzing out at $300 a pop. I'd asume that a lot of the kids who grew up during the boy-band era of the early 2000s maybe remember "Hey Ya" and missed Idlewild's charms completely; the non-hiphop heads of that set would hardly be compelled to pick up Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, unless they had an older sibling or mentor there to beat some goddamn sense into them. It makes more sense for them, then, to dress like the Ultimate Warrior (RIP) and "dance" onstage for Girl Talk.
That said—the two ran through their set in simple style, seeming in sync, Andre 3000 punctuating verses with his trademark Stankonia-era yelp. Big Boi definitely sounded more polished, but he never stopped rocking stages. As for Andre's occasional pleas for "more in the monitor" and musings if the crowd were alive or not—that's all part of the festival experience, right? (While I wish that 'Kast had skipped the dusty-foot festival circuit for their reunion and just staged a Yeezus-scale arena tour for their own, I'm guessing the money is better in wristband-land.)
The Dungeon Family was definitely in effect, as Sleepy Brown joined them onstage, and Janelle Monae, who came in the game as a signee to Big Boi's Purple Ribbon label, strutted out to perform their "Tightrope." Third generation DF member Future made an appearance, performing three cuts off of his upcoming sophomore album Honest, which you can stream in full right now, by the way. Killer Mike tried to get some bars in via the finale "The Whole World" but his mic and the music was unceremoniously cut off. "They wouldn't have done that to Arcade Fire," one Twitter user noted.
I'm praying—or my version of praying, that is—that they keep it together for the entirety of their 40+ festival tour schedule. (Especially so I can see them at the Gorge for Sasquatch—the last time they were there, during 1998's KUBE93 Summer Jam, I was on all of the mushrooms and could barely visually process them at their mutant Aquemini-era best.) For extra credit, I ask that the Universe helps Andre finds a new appreciation for tour life, that 'Kast hit a new productive stride, and that the greatest duo in hiphop (not named Run-DMC) chooses not to again forsake the world, this whole world that hardly deserves them, Amen.
Save the dates! Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 will take place July 25-27.
Who are the headliners this year? Well, we have A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, Matt and Kim, the War on Drugs, Odesza, Sol, A$AP Ferg, Beat Connection, Star Slinger, Spoon, Budos Band, Tanlines, XXYYXX, Angel Olsen, Poolside, Cymbals, and Shy Girls. I took the liberty of making you a sweet Spotify Block Party playlist to blast while you check out discounted 3-day and VIP passes, which became available exactly one minute ago!
CHBP tells us:
With just 101 days until the gates open, a limited number of discounted three-day passes will go on sale today at 9 a.m. for $99. For the first time ever, CHBP will offer a very limited number of VIP tickets for $250. VIP Packages will include express entry, limited edition apparel, complimentary beverage, a CHBP poster, and gifts from our sponsors.
Order your tickets here -- > capitolhillblockparty.strangertickets.com
Stay tuned for the full lineup announcement and details regarding the visual arts program, creative installations, and digital activities!
This clip from the Bollywood film Haadsa contains a scene featuring some of the best things in life: yoga, orange harem pants, and a ridiculous dance routine set to a
ripoff of homage to Kraftwerk’s “The Model.” Because I’m not at all schooled in Bollywood films, maybe some of you aficionados can answer this: Do any other movies from this genre possess other such odd appropriations and/or usages of the German electronic-music pioneers' catalog? I mean, besides this one.
Tip: Jeffery Taylor
Has someone wronged you? Are they wronging lots of people? Is revenge needed? It might be time for voodoo. Break out that handy-dandy burlap doll you made to look like said wrongdoer, and stab it in the face and genitals repeatedly. Revenge, done. But not all voodoo involves stabbing dolls. In a remote northern village in Sweden called Korpilombolo, they practice a voodoo that centers on love and family unity. It's this positive voodoo that fuels the earthen jams of recent Sub Pop signees Goat. They're a collective of sons and daughters whose numbers have swelled to a hundred people over the past decades. World Music is their first proper release, and sounds in the nine songs are guided through kiln-fired portals of psych, drone, and hypnotized krautrock. Guitar solos wander across a land bridge layered in skins and distorted wah-pedal. Medicine-woman vocals call to an oracle named Odgou. Songs like "Goatman," "Goathead," and "Goatlord" rise out from fireside trances. Who's Odgou, you ask? Why does Korpilombolo rhyme with YOLO? Could Randall Dunn be in this band? Questions abound, but Goat are unconcerned. They prefer anonymity and wear masks when they perform. All that matters resides inside the tents of their music. The member of Goat I spoke with said I could refer to them as Dr. Goatface. I think they were in Korpilombolo.
After a years-slow burn culminating with Kendrick Lamar's lauded Good Kid Maad City album, TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) is unquestionably Los Angeles' preeminent rap dynasty—the spiritual successor to Ruthless and Death Row's infamous legacies. Just a few years ago I was one of many bemoaning the sad state of LA rap, what with Snoop hanging out with known criminals and The Game just embarassing everybody.
Top Dawg's calling card has not been gangsta theatrics, beef mongering, or over the top ignorance—just, thankfully, great rapping. Kendrick is undoubtedly the face of it—though Ab-Soul might just be the best rapper in the squad—but one of their strongest assets has long been Quincy "ScHoolboy Q" Hanley. ScHoolboy (the "H" always capitalized in honor of his set, the Hoover Crips) has an instantly recognizable voice and flow, somewhere between Kanye's balls-out throat-clearing and Tha Dogg Pound's balance of lyricism with Funkadelic psycho-alpha hootin-and-hollering. He's not claiming to be a Good Kid, he's an unrepentant gangbanger, hardly believing that he's "finally the illest Crip" in the rap game. He's also startlingly upfront in his best moments, detailing his own pill addiction, and staying grateful for what he has. He'll be at Showbox tonight with TDE's newest, Tennessee native Isaiah Rashad, who's own Civia Demo from earlier this year has marked him as a bit of a baby Kendrick:
Tonight these two, along with the talented Odd Future affiliate
Vince Staples play the Showbox Sodo. Don't break the bank just yet though—it's already sold out.
Your chances of hearing the music from Miles Davis' humid, exploratory fusion classic Bitches Brew performed live are exceedingly rare. Luckily for Seattle, Wayne Horvitz's Electric Circus ensemble will tackle this unwieldy beast Sat. April 19 at the Royal Room (9 pm, 21+).
Bitches Brew remains a tantalizing experience, even on your hundredth listen to it. It should be a thrill to witness masterly keyboardist/electronics manipulator Horvitz and cohorts resurrect its magnificent sprawl, panther-like stealth, and mysterious menace. The Electric Circus lineup includes Ryan Burns (Rhodes, synthesizers), Tim Kennedy (organ, synthesizers), Kathy Moore (guitar), Tristan Gianola (guitar), Ian Sheridan (electric bass), Geoff Harper (acoustic bass), Raymond Larsen (trumpet), Beth Fleenor (clarinets), Alex Guy (violin/violia), Eric Barber (sax), Dave Sewelson (sax), Thione Diop (percussion).
Electric Circus will perform a second set, "improvising on riffs from James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Willie Dixon, Los Lobos and more," with special guest drummer Alex Cline, according to the Royal Room's website. No cover, but the suggested donation is $5-$15.
(Triple Door) Holy shit, Robert Fripp’s going to be playing two dates in Seattle! But don’t expect selections from Evening Star or Exposure or a medley of greatest non-hits by King Crimson (who are reunited, by the way). The British guitar innovator’s here as part of the ensemble Slow Music, an odd conglomeration of rock vets including R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, percussionist Bill Rieflin (Swans, R.E.M.), drummer Matt Chamberlain (Critters Buggin, Pearl Jam), and bassist Fred Chalenor (Hughscore). As Slow Music, they create a kind of intimate ambient sound that hints at ECM-ish chamber jazz abstraction. It’s super-refined and minimal, demanding utmost focus to appreciate the minute, elegant contours and subtle gestures. So stifle your shouts for “21st Century Schizoid Man”; ain’t gonna happen. DAVE SEGAL
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(Neumos) We have Goat well covered in Sound Check and Suggests, and we’ve established in these pages that Seattle’s Midday Veil rank high in the region’s psychedelic-music ecosphere, so let’s focus on Holy Wave. The Austin, Texas, group flow through the standard psych-rock motions with a heavy-lidded competency. On their 2014 album Relax, they sound like earnest students of the form; the record’s a mellow mixture of song tropes explored in depth and with some success by bands like Brian Jonestown Massacre and Tame Impala. Holy Wave’s repertoire includes some guitar jangle, some reverbed and Leslie-speakered vocals, some opiated song structures, some elegant, massed-guitar rave-ups à la Ride. It’s solid stuff. DAVE SEGAL
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Check out Sound Check's coverage of Goat here »
Strange things happen on Wretched Knob. People mutate, turn invisible, and encounter the kind of elaborate deaths you'd think Chuck Palahniuk was responsible for. It's a small town of outcasts and tolerated evildoers stuck in time, teetering on the edge of a cliff on a thumb-shaped protrusion in the middle of nowhere, held to the earth by the gravity of Barry Uhl's imagination alone.
A Seattle-based writer and multi-instrumentalist who's played regularly with Damien Jurado and Shelby Earl and arranged for the Seattle Rock Orchestra, Uhl (pronounced "yule") self-released his debut solo album, An Account of the Happenings at Wretched Knob, this month. The 32-minute collection of songs, pressed to vinyl, delves into the lives of the fictional town's inhabitants, and an attached book of poetry and ink sketches, also by Uhl, digs even further into their world. As a package, it's a short and sweet coffee-table-sized book with thick black-and-white pages filled with fascinating illustrations of curious-looking but realistically drawn people in various states of mental detachment and physical disfigurement. There are letters to family members written in rhyme, tales of spell-casting maidens and medical experiments that follow the town from its foundation to the perpetual state of misfortune it finds itself in.
(Barboza) Formerly of lovely post-rock outfit Emeralds, Mark McGuire officially announced last year he’d be leaving the group to pursue his solo career. Not that this was news, necessarily: The prolific McGuire has been making immaculate, swooning guitar-based compositions under his own name for years. At times flirting with the recently critically re-evaluated genre of New Age, at others going for the folksy electronica sound pioneered by Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden in the early ’00s, McGuire’s music occasionally wanders into white-washed, anodyne turf that’s been covered by many faceless bedroom loopers before. For the most part, however, the beauty of the guitar work and the lushness of the atmospherics manage to evoke bittersweet memories and quiet reflection, the way the best ambient can. With Jenny Hval.
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And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!
What is your legacy? I started thinking this after a series of tweets—of all things—from Blue Scholar/the Bar MC Prometheus Brown. Last week was the 10th anniversary of the original edition of the Scholars' first album, he said. Its release party, he noted, was at a Filipino restaurant in Chinatown, and Gabriel Teodros, Ka.Lil (then still called Khalil Crisis, I think), some guy named Macklemore, and even I (as part of Cancer Rising) all played that show.
"Ten years!" [Jeremy Piven, Grosse Pointe Blank voice]. I just have to print his finisher: "And, for 10 years I kept quiet and never said this out loud to anyone who ever doubted us but: fuck you we still here and you aren't." Chuch.
I'm not at all advocating for a state of only Scholars-type "positive" content here, as most so-called conscious rappers are as formulaic and backward as the radio rap their fans demonize. Scarface's words bled. 2Pac bled (and we never bounced back). Freddie Gibbs's shit bleeds. I'm not some mid-2000's Pitchfork type, saying only "negative" street content is valid, either.
The importance of talking with your community is really driven home to me when Prometheus Brown and I begin to chat about where we've come from just to meet. Despite my attempts to escape Bremerton I still call it home after the last 15 years. He called it home once too. “Bambu (his partner in The Bar) and I have that in common, man. Both our Dad’s recruited into the US Navy out of Subic Bay, and were stationed in Hawaii. My dad retired and worked in the Shipyard in Bremerton, but when I lived there I maintained that I was a Hawaii kid," he laughs.
(I spent the same amount of time in the Navy as his dad, and wound up in Bremerton for the same reasons)
“Funny thing is Bambu loves it there, he wants to do shows in Bremerton every six months” he says. “Bambu and I met because back in the early 2000s you could count on two hands the number of Filipino rappers, we all knew eachother through student unions and stuff he started to tour the same time as Blue Scholars because of his album with Native Guns. The Bar came about because after we realized we had all of this stuff in common –our dad’s in the Navy, Hawaii, hip hop, we spent like five days in Hawaii literally hanging out at the bar all day and going to the studio after. We’d decided to try and do three songs and wound up with like five or six. We looked at it and realized we had an EP”.
One of the first shows was in Bremerton. “Back then the group was literally called Prometheus Brown and Bambu Walk Into A Bar. One song off of that called “Lookin Up” was so well received that we decided, hey, lets actually dedicate some time to this instead of just saying we’ll do it whenever, so we made trips back and forth between here and Oakland and spent time in the studio together to really get that vibe”.
Godflesh main man Justin Broadrick's discography could fill this paper. The Birmingham, England, guitarist/vocalist's insanely productive and variegated career began when he was a teen with grindcore avatars Napalm Death in the mid 1980s. Too restless to toil in that group's one-dimensional style, Broadrick took total control of his musical destiny after short stints in Fall of Because and Head of David and started Godflesh with bassist G.C. Green. That unit became Broadrick's most iconic project. From 1988 to 2001, Godflesh perpetrated one of history's most powerful collisions of bombastically funky beats, blasted dubscapes, and pulverizing guitar and bass riffs, all topped by Broadrick's witheringly bleak lyrics and gruff vocals, which make drill sergeants sound like Mr. Rogers. Godflesh's self-titled mini LP and Streetcleaner were industrial metal's big bangs, their tremors inspiring scores of bands, including Pelican and Atari Teenage Riot. Godflesh make music that inspires you to fight the war to end all wars, triggering feelings of omnipotent invulnerability. Broadrick's demeanor in the following interview, though, was perfectly cheerful.
And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!
(Neumos) A few things about Odesza: 1) They’re a production duo that met while attending Western Washington University, 2) They’re named after a ship that sank and left one of the member’s uncles as one of two survivors, 3) They make the kind of instrumental electronic that’s incredibly popular right now—all nostalgic-sounding, pitched up-or-down R&B/pop vocal samples and ambient textures with deep, sweeping bass lines, and syncopated programmed drums. Fortunately, they avoid sounding like typical Soundcloud trend-hoppers thanks to the undeniable quality of both 2012’s Summer’s Gone album and last year’s My Friends Never Die EP, and this headlining set is well-deserved. Florida producer Kodak to Graph and LA Anticon/WeDidIt member D33J are fitting openers that should keep the vibers vibing from the start. MIKE RAMOS
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(Neptune Theatre) The number of bands in the 21st century putting the “die” in indie rock has reached epidemic proportions. Thankfully, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz don’t belong to that dubious music-biz sector. Granted, there’s nothing world-changing happening sonically on their debut album, Major Arcana. But the foursome—led by dulcet and declamatory guitarist/vocalist/U Mass poetry instructor Sadie Dupuis—craft melodically tart (that sweet-and-sour guitar interplay) and knottily structured songs that’ll push buttons in anyone fond of Helium, early Liz Phair, and, yes, early Pavement. Speaking of whom, leader Stephen Malkmus and his Jicks have a new platter: Wig Out at Jagbags. It’s the sixth LP of Malkmus’s post-Pavement career and it finds him stretching ever farther into circuitous prog and psych-rock complexity—and the dad jeans fit better than expected. He’s still clever and allusive in lyrics department, with “Lariat” alone referencing Tennyson, Grateful Dead, Sun City Girls, Bongwater, the Sweet, and listening to music from the best decade ever, “the eigh-eigh-dees.” Dunno about you, but the more Malkmus departs from his Pavement steez, the more I like his music—still, he should keep his mitts off Ege Bamyasi. DAVE SEGAL
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I can’t remember the first time I heard the album (has it really been ten years?), but I am satisfied that my timing couldn’t be more incredible. I shut up and listen.
“There were some people we knew who owned a Filipino restaurant down in the I.D., and at the time it was the only place we had where we could get everyone together have a show like that. It feels full circle, sitting here talking to you over Filipino food”.
I’m honored. I’d asked him to sit down with me to talk about his latest album with his group The Bar called Barkada, a hip hop album that captures perfectly the feeling of familial culture. Like my own Hispanic/latino culture (ironically something we share because the Spanish colonization of the Phillipines) food and family figure largely in everything, and the definition of family extends beyond traditional genealogical meaning, becoming more about who participates, who is part of the crew, or Barkada, literally translated from tagalog to english as “gang”.
When you delve into your studies of jazz piano greats you mustn't forget to investigate Lennie Tristano. A true iconoclast, Tristano straddled various modes of jazz while never really embracing any one style in a stranglehold. Informed by European classical music and bebop, Tristano prefigured both cool and free jazz. While his music falls squarely in the jazz tradition, it remains uniquely Tristano music through and through. As early as 1950, he explained to Downbeat magazine that he was uninterested, unable to acquiesce to a more accessible style of playing. "It would be useless for me to play something I don't feel," he says. 'I wouldn't be doing anything. If I played something that I'd have to impose on myself, I wouldn't be playing anything good."
Tristano's advanced harmonic conceptions pushed at the edges of the bebop terrain as he worked to move his music beyond its trappings. He held Charlie Parker and Bud Powell in high esteem and was always quick to sing their praises, even while instructing his sidemen (famously, Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz) to avoid copying Parker licks in effort to maintain their own originality. He explained, "Then, of course, there’s originality. That doesn’t mean that I am not moved by someone who uses Bird. A good example of that is how Bud Powell used to play. He used Bird’s vocabulary, but with some originality, just as Fats Navarro did. Beyond that, I like to hear someone hearing what he is playing. This is very rare. Jazz is supposed to be the great improvising art, and it is." Tristano's cerebral style was endlessly inventive, showcasing a seemingly effortless flow of notes and this command of his instrument affords him a place among the great improvisers.
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