Tonight in Seattle:  

A very imaginary “best of” 2013 movie list

It is time once again for me to dig into the vault of my ever-failing memory and pull up a list of the best movie things I saw in 2013. (Thankgod for Letterboxd...) 

Best acting job I’ve ever seen Leo do: The Wolf of Wall Street
I completely forgot that was Leonardo DiCaprio up there on the screen while I was watching him reenact Jordan Belfort’s insane life … which is really unusual. And while I’m saying for the second time how much I loved this film and can’t wait to see it again, I’ll just throw in that I am not in the camp that thinks this movie glorifies Belfort’s behavior. It’s not about the victims, because that would be a different movie. It’s about excess and greed and hookers and drinking and drugs and money. You know, typical Scorcese stuff. And it’s great. It’s really, really, really GREAT.

Best film about a guy you probably shouldn’t care about, but do anyway: Inside Llewyn Davis
I’m still not sure how I feel about all that folk music, but I do know how I feel about the Coen Brothers. I like those guys an awful lot. Llewyn Davis is kind of a dick, but he’s also kind of not. And you end up rooting for him, even if he isn’t rooting for himself. Confused? I might be too, but it’s a good film anyway … and I sure do like that orange cat.

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


RSD2013 release, and quite possibly one of the best things I heard all year, AKA Shearon van Ettenwater.

In years past, I've looked forward to the construction of my end-of-year lists, especially during years that ran toward the fuller side of new (and new-to-me) music that I was excited to compile and share. Since the days of digital music management, my standard operating procedure has been as follows: pull up my iTunes, sort by "date added" and take a stroll through the year in what I've added to my library -- which all worked fine and well in conjunction with a scan through that year's photo sets to jog my memory -- until last year, when I transferred libraries to a new computer, and my whole library had a singular import date. Hrmph.

As square as it is to admit -- and I'm sure I can't be the only person who does this! -- with a computer fix on the horizon, the only thing that made sense (and seemed remotely idiot-proof) to assist with the process this year was keeping track of the best things I came across over the course of the year in a spreadsheet in my Google drive. It worked pretty well, and I wound up with notes from every album that struck my fancy, every live show I saw (since I could access it remotely on my phone), and every uptick in a particular record's rotation, new or otherwise. I suppose in another era I would have done something more along the lines of, say, writing it down in a notebook or something archaic -- but knowing me, I'd likely misplace the notebook at some point. Is this where we talk about the pros and cons of how the internet never forgets? Anyway.

So, without further ado: of the fifty-odd things this year saw fit for me to be moved by to the point of making note of them, here's what ranked the highest, in chronological order.

{Fathery John Misty / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Baby's First Father John Misty Show, at the Neptune in January.

The beginning of the year saw new releases from Telekinesis, Hey Marseilles, Wimps, Sallie Ford, the Heligoats, and Pickwick; as I was still steeped in Greg Vandy's best of 2012 show and releases from bands like the Allah Las, Jake Bugg, Nick Waterhouse, and the Orwells. While all of those releases were good (if not excellent!) a few stood out above the rest, which I covered back in March.

{Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside}

Regarding Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside's Untamed Beast, I noted it was [...] clear from the nuance of the songs that Sallie (and/or her in-song character) is ready to rumble, drink, fuck, and pony up -- at least, that's the story her voice tells as we take the trip from the first to last track. It's a good listen with a delicate balance of vulnerability and toughness coming through from song to song, and I'm excited to see what this band puts out over their next release or two as they continue to grow, grow up, and evolve.

Well, we won't get a chance to keep on this trajectory with the band, as they announced a few weeks ago that they were breaking up for good. Hopefully they all keep on with individual projects and don't stop making music! (I was really stoked for those next two imaginary albums, y'all.) Pick up Untamed Beast, Dirty Radio, and that sweet Not An Animal EP while you still can here.

Another early year obsession was the demo (followed by proper full-length) from local punk band Wimps. I couldn't get it out of my brain, specifically, the track "Repeat" in the video above. Plainly stated: [...] this shit is good. The thing about Wimps is that there's no buffer, no... shtick, nothing but the sounds and the delivery. It's almost as if they've all dialed in to exactly what they need and want to be doing musically right now, one of those seemingly effortless phases that's actually the result of a lot of hard work. On top of putting out a great recording, Wimps translates live, putting on a just-tight-enough performance that manages to be equal parts fun and kickass.

They've continued momentum over the year, you've likely seen them live by this point -- but on the odd chance you haven't, upcoming dates are in their Facebook 'about' section here.

Longstanding imaginary BFF-band The Heligoats put out a proper full-length this year, Back To The Ache, and "Drai Zich" promptly went on almost every mix I made over the year: [...] my love for Chris Otepka's bizarre, beautiful songwriting knows no bounds, so it's no surprise that I'm legitimately whipped on a few tracks from The Heligoats' latest release, Back To The Ache. Out last week with a video premiere on IFC for the most solid takeaway from the album, "Drai Zich," BTTA is a start-to-finish journey of the inner workings of Otepka's brainspace, a welcome follow-up to 2010's Goodness Gracious.

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Ring in 2014 with The Black Angels {Moore Theater, 12/31}

 {The Black Angels}

There are an assortment of events taking place on New Year's Eve in Seattle, ranging from fireworks at the Space Needle to a Bollywood Masquerade at the Nectar Lounge in Fremont. As usual, there are a host of concerts around town, and our recommendation is one that is certain to include no party favors and a paucity of prom night attire: this year, celebrate the darker side of things with The Black Angels at The Moore Theatre. Their latest LP, the fantastic Indigo Meadow, came out earlier this year and it continues their murky trajectory through all things psychedelic.

One part Velvet Underground, one part Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and with a healthy tablespoon of Spectrum, The Doors, Love, Red Krayola and other late 60s influences, The Black Angels have been releasing dark, lysergic garage rock since 2005, when our very own Light in the Attic Records picked them up. Four full-lengths later, they are continuing their stride with little sign of diminishing quality. The only difference is that their third and fourth releases are slightly more pop-oriented than the first two, but the ingredients are all there.

The Black Angels stop in Seattle fairly frequently and always put on an excellent show. Their hypnotic live performances are powerful, featuring kaleidoscopic light shows and projected images, a perfect setting for their music. Whether you are a fan or a bystander, this is the perfect opportunity to catch a great show -- and the historic Moore Theatre is a wonderful venue to see anything at, really. It is gorgeous and is not too large (or small), providing the right amount of intimacy and charm.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

{The Wolf of Wall Street opens in Seattle on December 25, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Thornton Place, and the Regal Meridian}

At one point last eve, amidst the rum balls and hot buttered rum and glasses of cava, I declared that I had to write this review and my love suggested that I could just claim my drunken state was “research” into the excess shown in The Wolf of Wall Street. Brilliant, right? And then, I totally forgot and fell asleep.

Brushing the sleep out of my eyes early this morning instead, I’m here to tell you that Wolf is my favorite Scorsese movie since Goodfellas. It’s funny, no, I mean, REALLY funny, and Leo. Mygod. I didn’t even notice it was Leonardo DiCaprio up there on the screen. It WAS Jordan Belfort.

The “wolf”, if you don’t know, is a guy who started on Wall Street as a stockbroker’s intern, got laid off on Black Friday, and then lucked into selling penny stocks and got really great at it, opened his own boiler room turned firm, and proceeded to screw his clients while making millions and millions and millions of dollars for himself ... but of course you can only do that for so long before someone catches you. 

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DVD captures Lemolo's Beautiful Night

When local dream pop duo Lemolo sold out two nights at the Columbia Theatre for the release of their debut album Kaleidoscope, no one was more surprised than the artists themselves. Fortunately, their surprise didn’t stop them from thinking ahead, and they worked with local production company Creative Differences to record both shows for a DVD called Beautiful Night: Lemolo Live at the Columbia City Theatre.

The DVD includes songs from both performances interspersed with backstage moments and shots of the audience. Despite the occasionally jarring effect of switching back and forth between the two nights, the pristine sound and sharp visuals do capture the energy of the shows – especially when the crowd sings along to “Whale Song.”

No one who was there for either of those two nights in June 2012 is likely to forget it. At those shows and many more that followed over the next year, Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox gave performances that layered impressive power and energy on top of the dreamy melodies from the album. Both played their instruments with intense physicality, and the two seemed to share a telepathic connection on stage.

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Latest comment by: Mark: "I've been following Lemolo since their early show @ the High Dive. I've thought their break up in August was a loss. Kendra gave so much power to the duo. Their live shows were waves of sound rushing over you. I couldn't give out Kaleidoscope, it lacked the same ...