I’m not sure if Director Joe Swanberg intended for Happy Christmas to pass The Bechdel Test, but I’m happy to report that Happy Christmas DOES, indeed, have two women in it (that have actual names) who talk to each other, about something other than a man.
This is yet another Swanberg film that is essentially about nothing; not that nothing happens, but—there are no huge traumas or obstacles to overcome. It’s just about … life -- which is honestly refreshing, and makes me grateful that directors like him exist. It is SO nice to watch a film about a couple that is just dealing with every day stuff: no cheating, no big fights, no earth-shattering revelations. Just regular, every day, figuring things out, stuff.
In case you missed out, here’s a recap of all the great happenings from this year’s Timber! Outdoor Music Festival:
First, a bit about the setting. The festival took place in Tote-Mcdonald Park over in Carnation, which is just the right size for this festival. There were a good amount of attendees there, but it never felt packed or crowded -- and the park is set right on a river, so if you get a little hot, you can just walk down to the water and cool off. The atmosphere here is more laid back than the larger festivals as well; there’s less security between the crowd and the stage, and members of the performing bands were seen walking around with the audience, talking and enjoying some drinks after their shows.
There was only one show going on at all times, so there were no multi-stage conflicts, which is pretty nice. I was only able to attend the third and final day of the festival, but I still managed to experience tons of great moments! In a live setting, Cumulus rocked a little harder live than they do on record, and their nice, sunny harmonies fit well in the middle of a festival lineup. The Physics are a Seattle hip-hop institution at this point, and they had the crowd swaying and rapping along to their late afternoon set. They brought a full band along, including a keyboard player, guitar player, trumpet player, and two back-up singers, sounding full and energetic.
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires closed out the main stage with style, captivating the crowd with both his voice and his moves -- he even took the time to make two different outfit changes during his show! The highlight of his set was during the slow jam “Lovin’ You, Baby” when he pulled a couple onstage and serenaded them while the sun set. During his encore, he made his way down to the crowd and hugged as many members of the audience as he could.
Much to our collective happiness, David Bazan (in various incarnations) has continued to put out consistent, excellent work over the years -- and his recent batch of releases is no exception. There's two parts to this particular boogie, so get your headphones out and read on:
Bazan's first offering is a subscription service. (Right? We know.) Starting in July and continuing through November (collectively known as Volume 1), you'll get two new songs every month for each of the five months, paying in advance or as-you-go, digital or on vinyl (the latter comes with the former). If the first releases are any indication, you'll be adding more of Bazan's achy, chord-strewn monologue downer vibes to your collection, as you well should -- "Impermanent Record" and "Deny Myself" are pretty killer. And if you're a little financially gunshy, fret not: pop over to DavidBazan.com and stream the tracks first, to try before you buy -- August should be posting any minute now, so go soak it all in.
Part Two, for anyone who saw the Barsuk anniversary shows: it's time to rejoice, for recordings of Bazan + four-piece (aka The Passenger String Quartet) cometh. "Bands With Managers", "When They Really Get To Know You...", "Priests and Paramedics", and "Strange Negotiations" (and other selections from the Bazan / PtL / Headphones catalogs) are oh-so-slightly re-arranged to add a new twist to fan favorites. It's ready for preorder now -- we promise this'll be the best couple of bucks you spend all week.
More on the releases, upcoming tour dates, purchase links and the like here. Go!
Looking to get out of town this weekend and check out some great music while you’re at it? We’ve got just the festival to suit your needs. The same lovely folks from Artist Home who brought us Doe Bay Fest and Slackfest (among other events) introduced The Timber! Outdoor Music Festival last summer and have come back this year with an equally exciting lineup of fantastic established and emerging artists. Headlining this year’s festival are local singer songwriters Rocky Votolato and Damien Jurado, indie guitar legend and founding member of Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis, and one of soul music’s best live performers, the impossible-not-to-love Charles Bradley.
The festival covers three days, starting this Thursday, July 24th and going through Saturday, July 26th. It all goes down over on the east side at Tolt-McDonald Park in Carnation. It’s far enough to still be out of the city, but close enough that you don’t have to fill up your gas tank just to get there.
The lineup features tons of great local talent, from recently emerging acts like The Comettes, to other indie favorites that are gaining a lot of traction in the local scene like Hounds of the Wild Hunt, Cumulus, and Smokey Brights. There are also some great acts making their way up from Portland, like The Shivas and the softer, folk-based Horse Feathers, who should sound just about perfect in the outdoor, intimate setting. Fans of hip-hop won’t feel left out either; the self professed “king of Ballard” Grynch will be there, as will one of Seattle’s finest hip hop groups The Physics. The Seattle Rock Orchestra is even going to be performing the legendary Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, and you know that’s going to sound amazing. Did I mention that kids under 12 get in free, because they do.
You read that right!
Our beloved KEXP is holding a pre-housewarming party at their new home -- Seattle Center! -- today, starting at 6pm. And you, you, and you (yep, you too! yay!) are all invited to come down and celebrate. The party is tonight from 6pm - 8pm, features music by The Cave Singers, and is free free free!
Here's a little more official word on the event:
This is the first public event at the site of KEXP’s New Home in the Northwest Rooms of Seattle Center, and the culmination of an on-air celebration of the musical history of Seattle Center. The rally kicks off KEXP’s “All In” music match, an opportunity for music lovers to double their New Home donations. From July 10 through Tuesday, August 5, all gifts to help build KEXP’s new facility will be matched with funds contributed by a pool of artists including Pearl Jam, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Dave Matthews.
In its new facility, KEXP will offer public access to in-studio performances, educational opportunities for all ages, world-class tools to connect worldwide audiences to more “music that matters,” and improved hospitality for touring bands, so they sound, feel, and smell their best when performing for the KEXP community. In order to build its New Home, KEXP has launched Breaking New Ground Together: The Campaign to Build KEXP’s New Home, a $15 million capital campaign. The “All In” music match enables KEXP music lovers worldwide a way to maximize their support for the New Home and the benefits KEXP brings to music fans, artists, and the city of Seattle.