Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meet Debacle Records' 20-Year-Old Guitar Prodigy Hayden Pedigo and His Cast of Legendary Collaborators

Posted by on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Guitar phenom Hayden Pedigo pulled some strings to get several amazing guests on his excellent Five Steps LP.
  • Kacie Michelle Foust
  • Guitar phenom Hayden Pedigo pulled some strings to get several amazing guests on his excellent Five Steps LP.

Hayden Pedigo is a 20-year-old guitar prodigy from Amarillo, Texas, who recently released one of the year’s best albums on Seattle indie label Debacle Records. Titled Five Steps, the album splits into two distinct approaches. Side one features incredibly intricate and fluid acoustic-guitar compositions in the John Fahey/Robbie Basho/Takoma Records tradition, albeit with a 21st-century sheen and urgency to them. On these tunes, Pedigo works with preternaturally deft pickers like Mark Fosson, Danny Paul Grody, and Steffen Basho-Junghans. Side two is a four-part suite called “Dream Theory” that features collaborations with This Heat drummer Charles Hayward and his daughter Merlin, Faust drummer Zappi Diermaier, Acid Mothers Temple guitarist Kawabata Makoto, Henry Cow/Massacre guitarist Fred Frith, and ambient maestro Robert Rich. Side two is where things really disperse and ascend into the stratosphere. The Haywards’ song is the only one with vocals and it’s weirdly beautiful. The rest of “Dream Theory” wafts into a zoned-out ambient firmament that seems redolent of the desolation of Texas’ panhandle region (never been; just imagining it). These tracks are compelling and unsettling in equal measure.

Intrigued by Five Steps and the precociousness of its creator, as well as his world-class connections, I phoned Pedigo at his workplace—Amarillo National Bank. Of course that’s where he works—why should his occupation be predictable, too? “I can listen to about seven albums a day on headphones [while on the job], if I want,” Pedigo says. “I’m a commercial teller, so I instead of working in a lobby, I can be in a vault. I don’t work with customers.”

Pedigo says living in Amarillo’s been advantageous for his creative life, even if not many musicians of note come out of there. “This is a weird place to be doing this kind of music,” he admits. “It’s a strange canvas to work with, because nobody around here really gets into the stuff I do. But it’s an interesting slot to be in because when you do show people around here what you do, they seem more interested—more in the sense that they’ve never heard it. As opposed to if I lived in Portland or Austin, where people have heard similar kinds of things. But here there’s nothing like it.” Pedigo says Amarillo’s musical landscape is pretty barren. He claims that “country and really bad metal” are the most popular styles there. “There are like three good bands” in the entire city, he opines. Pedigo also plays guitar in the psych-garage band Western Plaza, who reputedly pack out venues in Amarillo.

Read the rest of this post after the jump.

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I Just Discovered the Back Street Boys!

Posted by on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Wait. HOLD UP! NO, I'm not referring to the millennials' favorite '90s pop vocal group, the Backstreet Boys; rather, I'm talkin' 'bout the other group of cherub-faced boys who ALSO happened to have been called the Back Street Boys! They were a mid-'60s beat group from New England and, I think, were the FIRST group of fellers to call themselves the Back Street Boys; "Back St. Blue," is their only known recording.

Unlike the contemporary Backstreet Boys, the '60s Back Street Boys obviously, and thankfully, chose to avoid harmonies altogether.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

10 Frames: Hangin' Tuff, Karaoke, Nark at KEXP, and Bottom 40

Posted by on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

A sampling of shots from last weekend.

  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • A Very Tuff Xmas: Hangin' Tuff debuted their second season at a very festive blow out at Fred Wildlife Refuge. Brand new episodes were aired on massive projection screens in between a bill of rad local bands including Clutch Douglass, Thunderpussy, and Don't Talk To The Cops!

  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • Permanent party favors: The Hangin' Tuff team gave out free flash tattoos from Alaska Street Tattoo Parlour to early arrivers.

  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • A holly jolly Christmas: Hangin' Tuff host Bobbi Rich rocked a Nutcracker inspired look while dancers Caela Bailey and Takiyah Ward served Christmas morning realness.

More photos after the jump.

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The Stax Records Singles Box Sets Volume 2 & 3 Are Being Reissued

Posted by on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Granted, the '60s ended mostly all about "the album," but when it came to soul music, even tho' there are a few fantastic examples of well-made soul albums, the single was the biggest driving force for every artist, group, and record label. Next to Motown, the mighty Stax Records was one of the best, most prolific, and successful single-driven soul labels, EVER. And with that kinda cultural weight comes great recognition; it's why Stax is afforded these way-deep, and COMPLETE, singles sets rather than a simple, casual "best of" compilation.

The two sets, The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 2: 1968-1971 and The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 3: 1972-1975, follow the label's evolution from raw, Southern R&B into formalized, of sorts, funky soul, modern soul, funk, and everything else in the run up to disco. Volume 2 covers the catalog from 1968-'71, after Stax left the Atlantic stable, and includes MAJOR jams like Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft,” Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff," and the Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself.” All told the set contains 216 sides! Volume 3 covers the label's full bell-botttomed stride from 1972-'75. It too is packed with Stax's biggest heroes: the Dramatics, Rufus Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, and the Soul Children. In 1976, the Stax story, at least on wax, ends as the label went bankrupt. God damn, what a legacy tho'.

These two sets were first issued in the early '90s, following the The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 1: 1959-1968, and it's nice to see them get a contemporary update/nod. Volume 2 is released today and Volume 3 will follow in the spring.


WIN TICKETS to the First Night of Dancer and Prancer's Xmas Extravaganza!

Posted by on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM


Connie & the Precious Moments
  • Kelly o
  • Connie & the Precious Moments
Dancer and Prancer, Seattle's best strictly-Christmastime surf band, are throwing a two-day Xmas Extravaganza with headliners Shannon and the Clams!

I'm giving away tickets to the first show (this Thursday, December 18, at Chop Suey), which features support from local bands Connie & the Precious Moments and Gazebos.

In order to WIN TWO TICKETS to this evening of merriment, be the first person to answer the Xtreme Trivia question after the jump:

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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Track of the Day Is R. Seiliog's "Constellation Drip"

Posted by on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM

My work iTunes currently houses over 48,800 songs. Every day, publicists, labels, and artists send dozens of downloads my way. Sometimes (a lot of times) I forget I've downloaded something, and months or even years can pass until I realize I haven't played that thing. Such was the case with Welsh producer R. Seiliog's In Hz album (you can stream it here; by the way, Seiliog's real name is Robin Edwards, not to be confused with The Stranger freelancer). I uploaded it to iTunes October 28, but didn't get around to listening till December 14. When I did, it was astonishment at first hear.

This is not your run-of-the-mill tech-house release, of which I've heard too many in this lifetime. In Hz is that rare beast that infuses a surplus of euphoria into its tracks without emitting an iota of sappiness. Its seven tracks are animated by a sense of cosmic bliss that may sound familiar to fans of spacey, psychotropic German music from the '70s and '80s. Couple that element with Seiliog's propensity for smooth, cruiseworthy beats and you have a recipe for constant elevation. "Constellation Drip" is perhaps the peak of this style, although "Wow Signal" gives it a serious challenge. But really, anywhere you go on In Hz offers a surfeit of textural and rhythmic pleasure.

I nearly overlooked In Hz, perhaps forever. Instead, tragedy was averted and it's going into my 2014 top-10 list. Now if I can only figure out how to pronounce Seiliog...

Weekend in Review: Face-Hurting Holiday Shows, Those Fucking Santas, and Squid Jigs

Posted by on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 2:52 PM

  • An autographed Ben and a bowl full of Dina: Christmas shopping DONE.

• Kelly's weekend was filled with THEEEE'ATAH! She went to the 2014 Homo for the Holidays on Saturday and reported that it's more fun than ever! Everybody who needs their holiday-frown turned upside-down, should really hurry up and get tickets. After the show, the lovely BenDeLaCreme even signed an 8 x 10 photo for Kelly's 8-year-old niece back in Michigan (who is nothing short of OBSESSED with LaCeme since watching her on the teevee on Ru Paul's Drag Race).

  • kelly o
  • For the Brutal Exterminator with everything.
• Also on Saturday, the new Punk Rock Flea Market was held in the old Central District Post Office building and had lines out the door. It's got us wondering what will be in the 24th and Union space in the future—it's now covered in custom graffitti and looks amazing inside! Kelly bought this light-switch cover from a crafty vendor. Because, duh, ZARDOZ.

No problems.
  • Amelia Bonow Rules
  • Speckled & Drake FTW.
• As for my Saturday, I lost track of time and found myself in the Pike/Pine zone right as the clock struck Party Garbage O'Clock and the godforsaken Santa-themed bar crawl oozed onto the street. Before I sprinted home, I was lucky enough to hear a Santa squawking outside Grim's: "OKAY, now we're going to Purr. We're going to the fuckin' gay bar. Ha ha ha we're going to go fuck in the gay bar! I think Purr is close to here, does anyone know? Okay, someone go see if Taylor and Autumn got their tabs."

• Kelly says: There's nothing ever better to do on a Sunday afternoon (or any of the remaining days until Chrisssshmas) than go see Dina Martina's ALL NEW holiday show. No spoilers, but there's a nod to a Laurie Anderson song this year that will BLOW YOUR FRICKIN' MIND and make your face hurt from laughing. Also, check out the merch table when (not if!) you go—you'll have a hard time deciding between the new coffee mug and the new official collector plate.

When life gives you squid jigs.
  • When life gives you squid jigs.
My super-exciting Sunday was spent wondering about squid jigs. Have you been to that tackle shop on Rainier? I walked past on Sunday morning, feeling kind of gross and under the weather, when I noticed that the #1 main focus and point of pride of the tackle store is their squid jigs. For some reason the words "SQUID JIGS" really cheered me up.


Michael Shrieve's Drums of Compassion, UW's Huge Harry Partch Coup

Posted by on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Michael Shrieve
  • Michael Shrieve


Renowned Seattle-based musician Michael Shrieve—drummer for Latin-rock luminaries Santana during their best years and the youngest musician to play the 1969 Woodstock festival—had some uncomplimentary things to say about Whiplash, a new movie about a tumultuous relationship between a young jazz drummer and his instructor. You can read about that on Slog, The Stranger's blog. What also emerged in the interview is some new activity by Shrieve that deserves your attention. After playing with his jazz-rock band Spellbinder every Monday night for years at the Fremont club White Rabbit, Shrieve has taken a sabbatical. (Don't fret—they'll resume playing at some point.) He's been focusing on finishing an album for Spellbinder as well as nearing completion on a record called Drums of Compassion, which features contributions from some of the greatest drummers and percussionists of all time: Jack DeJohnette, Zakir Hussein, Airto Moreira, and the late Babatunde Olatunji. "I'm standing up playing a kit with 16 drums," Shrieve says. "Also, I did something with Amon Tobin that's on there, too." How did Shrieve get involved with the phenomenal and much younger Brazilian electronic-music producer? "I was into his first record [1997's Bricolage]," Shrieve says. "I listened to it for years, and I pursued him for a long time. I love the way he cuts, edits, and messes with drums. It's really respectful. He doesn't play an instrument, but what he does is so cool...


Battle of the Long-Awaited Comebacks: D'Angelo's "Sugah Daddy" vs. Modest Mouse's "Lampshades on Fire"

Posted by on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Listen to "Lampshades on Fire" here, via The Current.

Two major singles hit the web over the last few days: D'Angelo's "Sugah Daddy" (off his first album in 14 years, Black Messiah, which RCA released via iTunes last night) and Modest Mouse's "Lampshades on Fire" (from their forthcoming full-length, Strangers to Ourselves, out March 3 on Epic; it's their first album since 2007's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank).

I've always been apathetic/disdainful toward Modest Mouse, but "Lampshades" is pretty good, packing an unexpected Southern rock swagger and a mutedly celebratory melody that's somewhere between the White Stripes and Mercury Rev. The release of D'Angelo's Black Messiah exploded my Twitter feed yesterday. I haven't heard Black Messiah yet, but "Sugah Daddy" has pumped up expectations for it. The song reminds me of the output Sly Stone was releasing through his short-lived Stone Flower imprint, as well as Sly & the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On. The production's as lean and sinewy as D'Angelo's torso on the cover of Voodoo, and the music harks back to that landmark record, too. The only words I can decipher are "she needs a spanking," "my philosophy," and "yeah," but no matter*. The music economically speaks the seductive language of stripped-down soul and funk (a very sculpted funk), its every contour glistening with sensuality and kundalini. I give the edge here to D'Angelo, but what do you think? Vote in the poll below.

*Pitchfork has a screenshot of the lyrics here. Note the line "so I made the pussy fart"; your move, radio.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Poster of the Week

Posted by on Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM


Surely everyone reading this column has either been in a band or scrolled past their musician friends' posts about how hard it is to name a band. Why, when you happen upon a pretty decent name, would you poop on it with this crazy capitalization situation? Designer Chelsea Wirtz's poster is gorgeous as usual, though. See more of Chelsea's work at

Click here to leave a comment.


hOt dOgS wItH tUnE-yArDs

Posted by on Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

  • tUnE-yArDs

If tUnE-yArDs' music were a shop, it would be Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. The core duo—New England native (and onetime puppeteer) Merrill Garbus on vocals, ukulele, drums, and loops with Oakland's Nate Brenner on bass—have fashioned together super-freak folk into their third album, Nikki Nack. Complex patterns and loops woven with call-and-response experimentalism take on 8-bit, electronic shapes. Your ear thinks it won't work at first, but it does. Then Garbus drops it into an Annie Lenox gear and you're hooked. What's that over there, a shrunken head wearing pink knee-highs? A two-headed calf in a tutu? Whoa. It's a mummified astronaut with a banjo. Live, tUnE-yArDs' ensemble swells to five, and they perform the sideshow beats and compositions extremely well. Garbus had just returned from the European leg of their tour when we spoke. She was in New York. It was very early, still dark, Seattle time. On top of making coffee, I ate a mouthful of the beans and sang John Denver's "Sunshine on My Shoulders" to wake up. When Garbus's call came in, I kept singing…


Friday, December 12, 2014

The Song of the Day Is: Ahamefule Oluo’s “Crinoline”

Posted by on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Ahamefule Oluo, a local comedian, composer, and trumpeter, has rightly wasted no time releasing the music of his very successful show Now I'm Fine, which ran last week at On the Boards. The album features, among other musicians, the members of the band that won this year's Genius Award in music, Industrial Revelation. It also features the vocals and lyrics of the super-talented okanomodé. My favorite tune on the work is the lush, moody, and even cinematic (there is a dash of Bernard Herrmann in this piece) "Crinoline." If you cannot love this song, you have the nervous system of a frog.


Forbes Calculates the World's Best Paid Musicians

Posted by on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Number one, earning $620 million in 2014, is... Dr. Dre. Those headphones paid off.

The rest of the list might surprise you. The Eagles were number three at $100 million, beating Paul McCartney ($71 million), Jay Z ($60 million), and the Rolling Stones ($47 million).

You know who else beat the Rolling Stones? Michael Bublé ($51 million).

See the top 30 earners below the jump.

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Jason Webley and Friends Resurrect Margaret Rucker, the Mysterious Socialite Poet They Found in a Dumpster

Posted by on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Jason Webley: Salvaging remnants of a tragic, privileged life found in a dumpster.
  • Jason Webley: Salvaging remnants of a tragic, privileged life found in a dumpster.

One windy morning in the early 1990s, sometime around 3 a.m., a man named Chicken John Rinaldi was driving around the hills of San Francisco with a van full of trash, looking for an empty dumpster—if he found one, he'd be able to sleep lying down instead of making do in the driver's seat. He located one that was half-full and cleared it out to make room for his cargo. Squatting down to light a cigarette, Rinaldi spotted a candle and lit it as well. That's when he saw a scrapbook, carefully bound in hand-tooled leather, just lying there at the bottom of a dumpster he happened to have climbed inside of. Naturally, he picked it up and read it by candlelight.

The album chronicled the life of a woman named Margaret Rucker. Born in 1907, she was the daughter of the old-money family that basically founded the city of Everett. (John D. Rockefeller had muscled his way into town when it looked like the Great Northern Railway would end there, but he divested quickly when Seattle got the job.) The book included photographs, yellowed pages of poetry Rucker had published as a student at the University of Washington, an eager telegram (presumably from her husband-to-be, Justus), and a series of newspaper clippings...


Reggie Watts Hired as New Bandleader for the CBS Late Late Show

Posted by on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Will Reggie Watts be more like Paul Shaffer or Doc Severinsen? Only time will tell!
  • [s_bukley]/Shutterstock
  • Will Reggie Watts be more like Paul Shaffer or Doc Severinsen? Only time will tell!

Seattle hometown hero Reggie Watts has just been named the bandleader for the CBS Late Late Show with host James Corden, who will take over in March.

To get a sense of what CBS might be getting itself into, here's Reggie's one-man bandleader work on Comedy Bang! Bang!:

Reggie, who moved to New York several years ago, has been all over the place from theaters like On the Boards (where he and playwright Tommy Smith, also from Seattle, created surreal performance pieces) to touring with Conan O'Brien to TED conferences:

Reggie has also collaborated with Wayne Horvitz, Regina Spektor, the Yes Men, Amy O'Neal, W. Kamau Bell, Sarah Silverman, and tons of other folks (including me, a few years back—clearly, he'll work with anyone).

I wouldn't be surprised if his next gig was on the International Space Station. But for now, congratulations on the CBS announcement.

KEXP Unveils Plans for New Home, Announces Open House and Groundbreaking Ceremony

Posted by on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Concept drawing of the new Gathering Space/Reception Area (courtesy SkB Architects).
  • Concept drawing of the new Gathering Space/Reception Area (courtesy SkB Architects).

Popular listener-supported Seattle radio station KEXP plans to break ground for its new, bigger, and refurbished location on January 28, 2015, with the goal to have it operational by December. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at the Northwest Rooms of Seattle Center (at the corner of First Avenue North and Republican Street). Also, on January 14, KEXP will host one-hour tours—open to the press and the public from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.—of its current (113 Dexter Avenue North) and future premises, dubbed the New Home. (You need to RSVP to to schedule a time.)

To find out more about these matters, I conducted an interview with KEXP's development communications manager/on-air host and former Stranger contributor Kurt B. Reighley (aka DJ El Toro). (By the way, Reighley is a great selector and his enunciation on the mic is unparalleled.)

I understand that the New Live Room will have space for 50 spectators. Will KEXP be selling tickets to performances? If not, how will people get access to the shows, as demand will surely outstrip capacity? Will there be seats?
The audience viewing area of the new Live Room is actually designed to accommodate up to 75 guests. This space will be SRO so we can welcome (comfortably) the maximum number of music lovers possible. We’re still finalizing the ticketing/reservation systems for in-studios, to ensure the smoothest possible experience, but they will be free to the public.

Is it known yet who will play the first in-studio set?
Not yet, but we’ve been soliciting suggestions since fundraising began at the end of 2012. My current favorite came from Randy Engstrom of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture during yesterday’s #AskSeaArts session on Twitter: "@Ahamefulejoluo and the band from Now I'm Fine that just played @OtB_SEA." I’d lay very strong odds that the first in-studio will showcase a local artist, since promoting music from the Pacific Northwest is integral to our mission. Leading favorites among New Home donors include Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Are there plans to increase the number of in-studio performances?
Are there plans to add more days to the year? KEXP currently hosts more than 400 in-studios annually at our cramped Dexter Street facility alone, plus remote sessions from New York, Portland, Reykjavik, and Austin. In both 2012 and 2013, that added up to approximately 550 live sessions. But certainly we hope that more access and better amenities, for both music lovers and artists, will inspire even more bands (especially touring artists) to visit KEXP’s New Home and play in-studio for our listeners and Seattle Center visitors.

Chimurenga Renaissance live on KEXP,  June 15, 2014.
  • Dave Lichterman
  • Chimurenga Renaissance live on KEXP, June 15, 2014.

Will all of the current KEXP library migrate to the new HQ, or will the station have a record/CD sale to lighten its load?
Oh dear God, my back aches just thinking about that migration. We are currently working on a KEXP digital library so our DJs and producers won’t be as dependent on physical media like LPs, cassettes, and compact discs, but I doubt we’ll have a sale anytime soon. Even the most unlikely titles come in handy, especially during listener suggestion-driven theme shows (like John in the Morning’s “Guilty Pleasures” shows). Doubles and retired copies are offered to our volunteers, who play a vital role in keeping KEXP humming along.

What will you miss most about the current KEXP dwelling? What will you miss least about it?
I’ll be very sad to say good-bye to Jonathan Wakuda’s mural that wraps around the Dexter Street building. Also, as uncomfortable as the current Live Room can get, I’ve had experiences in there that dumbfounded Teenage Me, like co-hosting a Dinosaur Jr. in-studio with Henry Rollins. In the “no regrets” column, our aging HVAC system routinely wreaks havoc throughout the building, and I will not miss the nights when I was on-air and the temperature fluctuated between oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-faint hot and bone-chilling cold.

Here's the FAQ page for KEXP's New Home.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Song of the Day Is... Three Songs

Posted by on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

It's the end of the year, everybody has list fatigue, everybody's fatigued of how much everyone talks about list fatigue and so on and so forth until merrily we blah into the new year. Nonetheless, as someone who ostensibly gives a shit about music, I have the ovaries to admit that *maybe* I missed something this year, some incredible artist whose work I ignored because I hated their name or album cover. Music journalists are loath to admit they came late to the party, but let's run down three tracks that flew way under my radar in 2014, from the divisive and confrontational waters of three different year-end "best of" lists.

So predictable it hurts: vaguely "psych," cool-dude falsetto, meaningless lyrics, wimpy little guitar lines that pretend they're sorta funky but aren't... and yet, damn. This is a catchy little number, bobbing along like a beach ball in the surf into the most miniature of crescendos. Are all you indie people into Pure X and not telling the rest of us? Via Livejournalist-turned-music-crit hotspot Tiny Mix Tapes.

Chance the Rapper's less well known but equally ambitious, troublemaking, ladies-love-him partner in crime Vic Mensa takes a sultry, neon-lit house tune and raps his ass off over it in one of the more daring and well-executed genre experiments of the year. This tune got some much-deserved love on wishes-it-were-GQ-and-XXL-combined Complex.

This is pretty much a Speak & Spell reading livid Youtube comments about John Cage, laid over a groaning, industrial-minimalist soundscape. Roll your eyes if you must but it's a damn masterpiece. Courtesy of esoteric-because-why-not UK weirdos Fact.

The Crystalline, Participatory Sound Sculpture of Unsilent Night

Posted by on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 4:09 PM

In the winter of 1992, New York composer Phil Kline wrote a multi-track piece of electronic music that was exactly 45 minutes long—the length of one side of a cassette tape. He invited some friends to a meeting point in Greenwich Village and handed out boom boxes with the tapes inside—different tracks for different machines. On his count, they all pressed play at the same time and walked around, creating what people say was an eerily beautiful cloud of "sound sculpture" wandering through the street.

"In effect," Kline later recalled, "we became a city-block-long stereo system."

The piece was called Unsilent Night, and it's become a holiday tradition in dozens of cities in Europe and North America, an exercise in counter-caroling that will be performed this year from Brussels to Tucson. (The New York event, organizers, have said on their website, may include elements of the recent Ferguson demonstrations, but they ask that any protests be "visually based. We will be a peaceful island walking through the city streets.")

This Saturday at 5 p.m., people are invited to meet at On the Boards for Seattle's Unsilent Night. The more folks show up with devices—phones, boom boxes, whatever—to play the music, the more powerful the experience can be.

You can hear a sample of what Kline calls "a little electric massage of Advent-y stuff" here:

But I'm guessing you have to be out in the street, surrounded by all the tracks, to get the full effect. Kline has also called it "ventriloquial music" that seems to come from the ice below, the sky above—everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Hopefully, somebody will spike the eggnog.

DIY Holiday Fair at Vera Project to Benefit Two Seattle Underground-Culture Bastions

Posted by on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM

  • Kelsey Gallo

The seventh annual DIY Holiday Fair takes place Saturday December 13 at Vera Project (11 am-4 pm). It benefits two of the finest forces for sonic good in Seattle: the all-ages venue Vera Project, naturally, and Hollow Earth Radio, the adventurous internet radio station that was in the running for this year’s Stranger Music Genius Award. We spoke to two of DIY Holiday Fair’s organizers, HER’s Domenica Clark and VP’s Rachel Kramer, to find out more about this worthy event.

How have the past few fairs gone? Did they meet expectations?
Clark: I started coordinating the Fair with Rachel in 2012. What I can gather is that from the beginning it was a very unconventional 'holiday/craft fair.’ It was coordinated by Amber Kai Morgan and Rachel LeBlanc for the first three years. It has long been a very Hollow Earth Radio-esque event because of the way it subverted the kinds of things that are supposed to happen at craft fairs. It has always been focused on local record labels, especially small ones. There have been experimental bands playing—such as Prawnyxx. There was a fashion show last year put on by Sequins in Seattle. We've had the Surrealist Songwriting Project going on for years now—it is fun live recording project that is basically a musical exquisite corpse. I think we've almost met expectations for the most part—vendors always seem to enjoy themselves and we raise money for the Vera Project and Hollow Earth Radio.

Kramer: Domenica and I have worked together for the last three fairs, which has been great. I've found the fairs to be very successful—I love to see vendors from the various art and music communities come together to showcase what they've been working on; there's so much creative passion in the smaller DIY scenes in this city and it's really important to me to have an accessible outlet for vendors to showcase those talents.

What if anything have you done differently this year from past editions?
Clark: I don't think we've done anything a lot different this year other than focus on making sure people know about the Fair, getting awesome DJs lined up to play who represent what Hollow Earth Radio is all about. It is definitely pretty simple this year.

Kramer: Last year was the first year we made the switch from live music to DJs, which is a change we're sticking with. Though the live music was fun, it was a little too loud/distracting. We're excited to have Cat (of THEESatisfaction) back to DJ, along with some Hollow Earth Radio faves. We have a few new vendors as well!

What is/are the goal(s) of the DIY Holiday Fair? I know it's to "help support local music and art" at HER and Vera, but can you be more specific?
Clark: We don't have a formal mission statement, but we focus on providing a venue for small record labels, crafters, zine-makers and other folks working in the do-it-yourself realm to share their wares. You will find local record labels like Debacle, Jigsaw, CTPAK, and Nostalgium Directive alongside cutesy crafts like Marninsaylor, who make the world's cutest doughnut pets. Also, showcasing DJs is very important to me. I want to make sure people are hearing the music they would hear on Hollow Earth Radio—out-there, underrepresented, and unusual.

Kramer: Vera's goal for the Holiday Fair is access and community. For Vera, it's always a treat to get to work collaboratively with our pals at HER. On the part of the vendors, it's being able to showcase and sell goods alongside like-minded artists from the different corners of the Seattle music and art scenes. Whether the products are handmade tapes from someone's one-artist tape label, rare vinyl pressings of obscure '90s punk bands, freshly brewed hand-roasted coffee, unique knitted hats, or prints screened right there in Vera's screen print studio, it's fun for vendors to be able to share what they've been working on in a way that's personable and community-building. On the part of the customers, it's access and discovery of awesomely creative goods and more importantly than that, access to the artists who made them. Many of the vendors sell their wares online, but it's the face-to-face interaction that creates and maintains community. I've personally become friends with vendors from previous fairs and it's these connections that make me feel like I am part of something meaningful and beautiful and remind me why I love and cherish Seattle!

More info on DIY Holiday Fair.

Madeleine Cocolas's Work Ethic Makes Yours Look Bad

Posted by on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM


Back in the idealistic days of my youth, I took part in something called National Novel Writing Month. For those unfamiliar with the concept, "NaNoWriMo" consists of wannabe writers forcing themselves to the rather daunting task of writing a 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in 30 days. (It's amazing the lengths amateur authors will go in order to make it past the dreaded blank first page.) Needless to say, I failed spectacularly, owing to any number of the excuses I told myself: I was working too many hours at my "real job," my version of Microsoft Word was hopelessly outdated, those DVDs of The Wire weren't going to re-watch themselves...

On the other end of the go-get-'em spectrum is Seattle-via-Australia electronic composer Madeleine Cocolas. After settling in South Lake Union with her techie husband a little over two years ago, Cocolas gave herself a musical mission: to compose and record a brand-new track, every single week, for a year…


Aussie Nerds Reinvent the Home Record-Cutting Lathe

Posted by on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Cutting records at home with a lathe is not new technology. Prior to cheap audio tape (about 60 years ago) portable lathes and home consoles with both a turntable AND a lathe weren't uncommon. An Australian audio obsessive, Paul Butler Tayar with his Machina.Pro crew, has reengineered the lathe for contemporary home use and named it the Desktop Record Cutter.

The DRC is engineered to cut high-quality grooves into vinyl, not into the somewhat-fragile lacquer of an acetate like in the old days, so hopefully this should produce clean and close-to-perfect copies of your personal recordings (no pirate/bootlegs, please!), which you can play like any other record. However, currently the playback volume only grades at "dub-cut" volume, so your cut (aka carver) will be mastered at less-than-proper release volume. Which is fine for one-offs or short-run releases. Here is a Kickstarter page if you'd like to help this group achieve its production goals, or if you wanna just read the deep details of the project. It is pretty cool, and there are a LOT of interesting pictures and other bits to check out. Oh, this is a sexy analog-on-analog process, but WHERE IS THE RCA input?

h/t: Ms.Tweed

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Song of the Day Is by Thunderpussy (Who Are Playing a Very Tuff Christmas Party Tomorrow!)

Posted by on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Have you seen Seattle's Thunderpussy play a show yet? DAMN IT, YOU NEED TO! Tomorrow they'll join Don't Talk to the Cops!, Clutch Douglass, Dancer and Prancer, Fox Hunt, and DJ Bobbi Rich for a holiday party and the Season 2 premiere of local music variety show Hangin' Tuff. The whole holiday hoedown goes down at the Fred Wildlife Refuge, starting at 7 p.m. There'll be dancing Rainier beer reindeer (rain-deer?), and if you bring a toy, to donate to Toys for Tots, you get a free drink. Event flyer after the jump...

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French Prog Legends Magma Rumored to Be Hitting Seattle for Their 45th Anniversary Tour Next Year

Posted by on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

The Stranger has learned that plans are afoot for pioneering French prog-rock group Magma to tour North America in 2015 as part of their 45th anniversary celebration. There's talk of both Seattle and Portland dates. Nothing is confirmed yet, but we'll let you know when/if it is.

Led by powerful, bombastic drummer Christian Vander, Magma essentially created a new genre, Zeuhl, which features an invented language (Kobaïan) and a mythological backstory about humans fleeing Earth for the fictional planet Kobaïa. But you can enjoy Magma's music without knowing about any of those elements, especially if you have a high threshold for operatic and steroidal gospel vocals, mad unison chants, complex time signatures, huge and lewd bass throb, late-era-John Coltrane intensity, and a lot more. Pray to whatever higher power you believe in that Magma will make it here, with Vander's full kit and ego intact.

10 Frames: sex.wav, Rave of Thrones, and So Pitted at ArtAche

Posted by on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 11:05 AM

A sampling of shots from last weekend.

Dress for the job you wish you had: At the monthly sex.wav party at the Mercury, partiers bedecked themselves in fetish inspired fashion with tributes to bondage and rope play.
  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • Dress for the job you wish you had: At the monthly sex.wav party at the Mercury, partiers bedecked themselves in fetish inspired fashion with tributes to bondage and rope play.

Shadow dancers: A couple of cuties get down next to the projection screen at sex.wav at the Mercury.
  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • Shadow dancers: A couple of cuties get down next to the projection screen at sex.wav.

Mellow yellow: One of sex.wav's hosts, Siobhan Hawkins, awaiting the ritual sacrifice.
  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • Mellow yellow: One of sex.wav's hosts, Siobhan Hawkins, awaiting the ritual sacrifice.

Hodor!: Kristian Nairn brings the crowd to their knees at his Rave of Thrones party at Q on Saturday night.
  • Brooklyn Benjestorf
  • Hodor!: Kristian Nairn brings the crowd to their knees at his Rave of Thrones party at Q on Saturday night.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Song of the Day Is John Coltrane’s “Acknowledgement”

Posted by on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 5:19 PM

50 years ago today, John Coltrane entered the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliff, New Jersey with three other musicians and recorded one of the masterpieces of the 20th century, A Love Supreme. The opening movement of that work is "Acknowledgment." It opens with the solar splash of a Chinese gong; its main saxophone solo concludes with the famous key-hopping; near its end, Coltrane chants the words "a love supreme." It's important that his idea of god is not a supreme love, but simply a love that permeates everything. It's a love that is in the world, not above it. God is not a being but an attractive force. Coltrane's cosmic thinking is mirrored in many ways by Spinozism.


For a great book about this historical event, this monument of American culture, this recording, checkout A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album by Ashely Kahn.

TV on the Radio's New Album Was Not Made in Your Mom's Garage

Posted by on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM


The fifth album from TV on the Radio, Seeds, is a primed, ripened batch. Melodies spin inside of melodies, with layers opening into each other by trapdoor (see: the bookshelf that rotates to a secret room when you pull the book titled Purple Rain). The punctuation of TVOTR's Brooklyn-based funk sorcery is still taut and foreboding, but the songs seem more obtainable than earlier output. It's their first album since the 2011 passing of bassist and brother Gerard Smith. Themes of love run throughout. "Could You" drives and peels off with horns, 12-string (Beatles) Rickenbacker, and the tandem vermillion tenors of Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone. Guitarist/producer Dave Sitek yields sounds on Seeds that work together like cogs—spatial, yet wrapped tight. On "Careful You," Jaleel Bunton's scuzzy, pulsating bass tones climb up a scaffold of beats 50 stories high. For the outro, Adebimpe's voice becomes a staggered and muted refrain, descending through a progression eight times. He's either saying "don't know," or just repeating the word "now." It's difficult to make out through the gelatinous sheen of the filter…


TV on the Radio play Tues Dec 9 at the Deck the Hall Ball at KeyArena.

About Those Reports of Chop Suey’s Potential Sale to LA Entrepreneurs

Posted by on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 2:08 PM

  • Kelly O

Capitol Hill Seattle reported on December 8 that Los Angeles club owner Erin Carnes and LA musician Brianna Rettig have designs on buying Capitol Hill club Chop Suey. Carnes currently runs The Escondite in downtown LA with Brian Houck. I contacted Rettig to find out what the status of the deal is. She responded, "Thank you for your interest. At this moment in time I have no comment and neither does Erin Carnes or her partner Brian Houck."

Reached by email, Chop Suey talent buyer Jodi Ecklund offered her knowledge of the matter. "There is a potential new buyer. As of now nothing has been finalized. I have been told by my boss to cease all bookings starting 1/20 and was told to cancel all future bookings. The owners haven't shared much with me as to whom the potential new buyers are. I can neither deny or confirm if these are indeed the prospective buyers. I wish I had more to share and at this time I don't.

"I have no idea if the new owners plan to keep any of the current staff or not," Ecklund continued. "I am hoping to get more information in the days to follow. In the meantime, I have been encouraged to look for new employment. I am really proud of what we were able to achieve for the local music community. I really hope if the sale is finalized that they realize the importance of keeping venues like Chop Suey thriving.

"My main goal is to get as many people through the doors with our remaining time there. And, additionally, to find work for all of the current staff."

"A Weezer Fan is a Hopeful Fan" (What it's Like to be a Diehard Weezer Fan in 2014)

Posted by on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Formed in 1992, Weezer was one of the best bands an indie-curious young'un could hear. Their self-titled debut (The Blue Album, 1994) was incredible, as was Pinkerton (1996), and arguably even The Green Album (2001). Plus, Rivers Cuomo was a total nerd babe. Things got a little odd around Maladroit (2002), downright terrible for Make Believe (2005), and then I stopped paying attention, except to cringe at the press photos for 2008's The Red Album (the one where Cuomo looks like a concerned cowboy dad with a mustache and mullet). A Weezer album called Raditude came out in 2009, followed by Hurley—named after the Lost character and featuring a closely cropped photo of the actor's face on the album cover—in 2010. Were they serious? Were these very expensive practical-joke albums? The longest, dumbest con?

  • Emily Shur
  • That's more like it.

So here we are in 2014 and Weezer have made a new album called Everything Will Be Alright in the End—an album that sounds more Weezerly than anything they've done in over a decade because, apparently, they caught wind that their fans wished they would make an album that sounded more like they used to sound.

I honor of Weez's new album, my middle-school self, and their show this evening at Key Arena (they're playing the Deck the Hall Ball tonight along with TV on the Radio and Imagine Dragons, whoo boy), I've tracked down Seattle's Biggest Weezer Fan, Dave Scott, to find out what it's like to be a Weezer Fan who persevered all the way to 2014.

Hi Dave! I’m told you are a Weezer fan. Can you tell me what caliber of Weezer fan you are? I hear you are/were a card-carrying member of the Official Weezer Fan Club.
I worked for the first incarnation of the fan club. Back then it was a lot of stuffing envelopes with “Weezines.” Hand drawn, cut and paste, copied at Kinkos, and totally DIY. I met Mykel and Carli Allan through a friend in junior high school. They were the ones that started the whole thing. After seeing Weezer and Archers of Loaf at La Luna—May 18, 1994—my favorite show ever, I was hooked and just started showing up to their house to help with whatever. Stuffing envelopes, makings flyers and handing them out at shows, checking stock of their records at Ozone, etc. When I heard “Only In Dreams” for the first time (I was skipping school and sitting in a Dairy Queen enjoying a chocolate-chip cookie-dough Blizzard), I realized I’d never heard anything like it before. The entire record was flooring me, but I fucking lost it after hearing that song. I understood everything about it. So simple, but so crushing. I was working with the fan club for a couple years and then Mykel, Carli, and their sister Trysta died in a car accident coming home from a Weezer show in Colorado. After that, it just dissipated. It started up again a few years later with Karl Koch manning the helm, but they had already become WEEZER, so it was just too big of a task for a few people to pull off.

So you’ve put in some time with this band, but Weezer have been through a lot of changes throughout the years. Have you maintained your fan-hood this whole time? Has that been challenging?
Yeah, it’s a little challenging. I work at a place where whatever I put on is listened to by other people. It’s really hard to want to put on Raditude, want to actually enjoy it, and have to ready myself for the steady shitstream of horrible things people have to say about your favorite band of all time.

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