Tonight in Seattle:  

Are you on the Seattle Living Room Shows list yet?

You know how in the movies all the beautiful people go to secret shows in lofts and warehouses where you can only get in if you’re on the list? And it’s always some band you’ve never heard of but when you watch the movie years later you’re like “Oh my god! Those guys are famous now!” Well, it turns out that actually happens in real life, and all you have to do to be one of the beautiful people is sign up for an email list.

Since 2008, sisters Carrie and Kristen Watt have been organizing Seattle Living Room Shows. Every month they put together a show in an unconventional space – often a real living room. You only find out the location and sometimes the final lineup after you buy your tickets. But the coolest thing about the Living Room Shows is that they’re not about being cool. They are about providing the best live listening experience possible.

Okay, that totally sounded like marketing copy, but everything about the shows is designed to get fans up close and personal with really great music. They get artists like Lemolo and Damien Jurado to play in lofts and galleries to a few dozen people. While the Quietus bemoans 2013 as the year the gig-talkers won, SLRS are providing intimate listening room experiences for people who actually want to hear the music. The only talking during the show is between the performers and the audience. I’ve only been to two of them so far, but SLRS are quickly becoming my favorite way to see live music.

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Latest comment by: David Leech: "Very excited about this"

Recommended event and game: MovieCat is awesome! {1/21}

You guys, I've been wanting to tell you for awhile that MovieCat is AWESOME. And I’m not just saying this because my team, Requiem for a Dream Team, has won a round of MovieCat trivia at Central Cinema before (and come close to winning a second time).

MovieCat is so many things, but primarily it’s a movie trivia game for your smartphone and a fun live event that happens about once a month at Central Cinema. The local creators (and hosts) of this super-cute cat-themed movie game, Jessica Aceti and Brian Kirk, just launched a sequel to their first game, MovieCat 2, which has some added features including new categories that make it even more boss than the original game, and the ability to have 2 players for a trivia battle. And it’s not easy! (although you can set the difficulty level to easy, or medium, or hard, depending on how confident you are with your movie trivia knowledge). These guys KNOW their stuff, and there are some questions in there that even my most hardcore film-loving friends don’t know the answer to.

The next Central Cinema event actually happens tomorrow night, Tuesday 1/21, at 7pm, and tickets are $6. The prizes range from MovieCat prints to delicious cheesecakes, and always include an amusingly “authentic” movie prop. That rug that my friend Andrew won one time really ties his room together.

Tickets to the trivia night are $6, and I recommend you get there early because it's popular! Plus, arriving before 6:30 means you get a good seat AND happy hour pricing on food and drinks. Don’t forget to download the game for only $1.99 to prep beforehand.

Don't miss: Damien Jurado at the Neptune {1/17}

{Damien Jurado / Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son}

Rejoice, fans of the Saint Bartlett > Maraqopa trajectory: I have heard the new Damien Jurado album, and it is good.

As we reported back in October, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son is here (yeah, he's talking about Jesus -- don't worry, it's a rad trip; take a drag on what Father John Misty had to say about it) and with it, a release show at the Neptune this Friday. As the first official show endorsement of 2014, I would highly, highly recommend not missing this performance. Here's why: the first time I heard Brothers and Sisters, I immediately tried to figure out how to get some peyote, so I could go jam out in the desert someplace with "Silver Donna" fed through a transistor radio on infinite repeat, eventually disappearing completely.

Yeah -- it's really accesible, but it's that kind of record.

With the helping hand of Richard Swift, Damien Jurado continues to expand his consciousness -- and seemingly, his alignment with the art he wants to make, not the art that's expected of him -- with his most psych-tinged record yet. And while I'm still very much present, typing at this keyboard without said substance or desert experience coming to pass in real-time, it is crystal clear to me that this is for sure a trip that I want to be on. The very touchable, dimensional reality is that Jurado can go from a song like "Go First" to something like this:

and whoever has that kind of incredible range of work in them also has me at the front of the line, for all performances and record pre-orders, forever and ever. (Amen.)

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Imaginary Keenan's navel-gazing 2013 wrap-up

2013 was one of the most challenging years of my adult life. I tackled a ridiculous amount of life and ALL CAPS FEELINGS all at once but somehow came out alive and mostly unscathed thanks to finally learning how to take care of myself. 2013 found me taking solace in music much more than the few years preceding it, mostly because I needed it. 2013 was the year of obsessive repeats and the return of music as therapy to my life. Here are a few things that really shook me to the core and pulled me through even the darkest days.

Fortunately, this year featured new releases by two of my all-time (and seriously imaginary) favorites, BOAT and Tullycraft. I spent the first quarter of the year listening to both on repeat, generally in succession. I owe my sanity in the first few months at a brutal corporate job I have since (thankfully) left mostly to these two records.

BOAT's Pretend to Be Brave is a beautiful, slow burning record. My husband and I have a joke about BOAT songs - "My favorite BOAT song is the one about overcoming difficulties and becoming a better person" {cue rim shot} and that couldn't have been more true on the latest effort nearly a decade into their career. But like with every BOAT record, the songwriting becomes more focused, more honest and the hooks become even stronger. The secret weapon on this record is the absolutely perfect backing vocal performance provided by Portland's Shelley Short, adding just the right amount of sparkle. My only disappointment was that BOAT didn't play more shows in 2013. Hopefully this is something they'll correct in the new year. Please enjoy the lead single, "Hating the Criminal".

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Latest comment by: Diana Wegener: "Very rocking and dashing as well. I like you guys, I like the way you present your news. Keep us rocking in 2014! In It Pokies "

2013: a mostly-local year in the rearview mirror {pt. II}

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
David Bazan at the Neptune, as part of the Barsuk 15th-year anniversary shows.

Summer -- endless summer! -- was full to the brim of incredible shows: I had the fortune of hosting John Vanderslice in my living room (and my backyard), spending a few days with Tom Brosseau, seeing Paul McCartney from the third row at Safeco, strolling around the farm for a hot weekend at Pickathon, and it all closed out with a most excellent Bumbershoot experience. I literally couldn't have asked for more!

At the same time, my sonic landscape was interspersed with the likes of Crosby Stills & Nash, KEXP's Six Degrees of Sharon van Etten, a hearty Zeptember, and tracks off the new releases from Laura Veirs, The Moondoggies and a random (to me) band that hit the imaginary inbox called Brass Bed.

I love these songs the same way I love "Northwestern Girls" by Say Hi. They feel so locally-steeped and hand-forged, bringing the best of the PNW home to roost in their respective deliveries: Laura Veirs takes us on a light-soaked journey paying homage to the sun, the Moondoggies bombard us with sound from the stage of our favorite Ballard bar. A+++. {Get the MDs album here, and Laura's here. Hers is even available on reel-to-reel!}

If we're going to get super technical here, this Brass Bed track came out on a 7" in 2012 as a preview of the 2013 album, The Secret Will Keep You. So, filed under new-new or new-to-me-new, it still counts so far as I'm concerned. I haven't spent a ton of time with the full-length, but the single struck me enough to slip it into a few mixes this year. Not local, still magically delicious. Start with their bandcamp and go from there to see if anything else strikes you -- there's an EP of Nilsson covers from 2012, and tour dates if you're inclined.

{Tom Brosseau / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Tom Brosseau, holding down the fort out behind our own Tractor Tavern.

Speaking of Tom Brosseau, not only did I get to take in two incredible shows on the tour he did with Sean Watkins this past summer -- at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, and the following night at the Tractor -- I've got my bets hedged on his 2014 release, Grass Punks, being one of the best non-local releases of the year (right alongside my pending-official-release northwest favorites, Damien Jurado's Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son and Barry Uhl's An Account of the Happenings at Wretched Knob). It's my favorite record he's done since I fell in love with what I mean to say is goodbye -- I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop since picking up a tour-only copy at those shows this summer, and I can't wait for it to get officially birthed out into the world. Keep an eye on all things Tom at his website here.

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