Tonight in Seattle:  

Best of

Photo Essay: Get ready for Dancing on the Valentine 6 @The Crocodile {Friday, 2/11}

Us Imaginaries are getting SUPER EXCITED for this year's Dancing on the Valentine benefit show next Friday, February 11! Host and organizer miss Jenny George has outdone herself; putting together a Depeche Mode cover night entitled Strangelove to satisfy our nostalgic Goth hearts. Photographer extraordinaire Ben Haley will once again be manning the fun photo booth.

Here's a preview of what to expect using photos from DOTV 2010: the David Bowie tribute. (psst: you should totally buy your tix now at Sonic Boom or The Croc!!! $12/$10 of which goes to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.)

DOTV 5

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Latest comment by: yelahneb: "Woot! See you all then :)"

Tonight's recommended show: Damien Jurado at Columbia City Theater

{Damien Jurado, Widower, Tony Kevin Jr. at Columbia City Theater}

Our friends over at Sound on the Sound are presenting their first show of 2011, and it's sure a doozy: none other than one of our imaginary favorites, Damien Jurado, will be headlining on a bill that includes Widower and Tony Kevin Jr. tonight at Columbia City Theater.

In case you haven't seen all the exclamation points flying around the site over the last few months, let us refresh your memories: we simply just Can't. Get. Enough of Damien Jurado's 2010 release here in the imaginary offices. Saint Bartlett is nothing short of an indie triumph, with a start-to-finish one-take sound that begs to be heard on vinyl. It's at once simple and adventurous, and as many a critic have stated, a gorgeous and well-charted departure from anything he's done over the last few years -- while managing to maintain his signature sound down in the underpinnings, much to our delight.

Here's a little taste, in the event that Saint Bartlett hasn't made it's way into your colection yet:

If that's not enough to get you out to Columbia City in the drizzle tonight, I don't know what is. Tickets are going fast, and we strongly recommend that you pick one (or four) up in advance over at Brown Paper Tickets before you head to the show. We'll see there!

{21+ / $14 / 9p}

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Imaginary Victoria's best of 2010, part two: shows (and other indoor sports)

{seattle show posters photo shoot / by victoria vanbruinisse}

It's safe to say here at Three Imaginary Girls that we go to a lot of shows. Sometimes, two (or three) in one night, if there's more than one must-see happening going on about town. And so it's no surprise that in 2010 alone, just on my own, I managed to go to shoot at least two shows a week on average, attended another two dozen-ish (or so) sans camera, plus several festivals, house parties and a handful of KEXP in-studios. We're talking everything from nights at the Sunset and Neumos to four days in Portland for MFNW, out locally for long weekends at Bumbershoot and Sasquatch, and down to SXSW and back again.

On any given night there are plenty of shows taking place, in rooms across Seattle and across the country, where boys and girls and instruments and fans all convene inside four walls to make, appreciate, and experience live music -- but not all of them are Shows. When I reference shows in this post, I'm talking about the nights that we collectively See A Show, the nights that remind me us why we live in Seattle in the first place. Seeing A Show has the ability to alter the fabric of our respective existence, to leave us forever changed -- full of those everything-I've-ever-done-led-to-this-exact-right-now kinds of moments.

With a history timeline at the ready via flickr sets and hastily scrawled notes from stage right, I give you some of my greatest moments of 2010 as an appendix to the ever-popular top albums of the year lists that have been popping up all over our radars.

{neil young marquee / by victoria vanbruinisse}

First place:
Neil Young (solo) at the Paramount


This might be construed as an easy out for a list-topper, but it was by far the most stupidly amazing few hours I spent in a venue all year. Not only was I among the lucky few that got to hang and shoot from the soundboard, but I also had the privilege of being allowed to watch the set after shooting (sans camera gear) from the third-level mezzanine. It may as well have been a live reel of Young in his prime, for how good he sounded -- without a doubt one of the top ten shows of my life, probably in the history of Ever.

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Latest comment by: John in Ballard: "Wow, so many good shows I feel like I missed out on after reading this. I did however go to Sasquatch, so I'll just confirm that LCD Soundsystem are an awesome live band. Probably one of my favorite shows from 2010. Also fantastic at Sasquatch: Caribou, ...

Keenan's Top 10 Songs of 2010 (with Videos)

It's hard to believe 2010 is already over (which is probably why this list is so late), as it was one of the biggest and craziest years of my lifetime. I quit working full time to start a business with my fiance, and, as some of you know, mid-way through last year I decided it was time to bid Seattle a temporary farewell, and by the end of the year, I was packed up and across the country, living small-town style in Athens, GA. I'm a life-long Seattleite, and will continue to think of myself that way, despite the distance, for at least the time being.

These songs of 2010 were the ones that counseled me through the tough decisions of leaving and provided respite in scream-alongs to remind me that everything was going to be OK. Some of these win brownie points for unbelievably adorable videos, and some of them the songs were just too great to not post something, so bear with the fake youtube videos that just have a photo and the album version of the song. Trust me, it's worth it.

1. Nana Grizol "Cynicism"

 

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Latest comment by: Anonymous: "great list!"

Brent Amaker & the Rodeo — Please Stand By

The pastoral pleasures of Brent Amaker and the Rodeo's third album Please Stand By are hard to resist, if you love either the mod 60s Hollywood hillbilly of Lee Hazelwood, or the jittery original cow-punk of 50s Johnny Cash. Amaker's delivery is dry and wry, and the band cooks up their no-bullshit C&W with a steady sizzle and a few unexpected drunken master punches. The baroque, bourbon-lensed packaging itself is exquisite, as ribald and rococo as anything by Led Zeppelin, and the howl-rattling, full-color comic book included with every copy of the LP gives you as much back story as the libretto for any prog-rock masterpiece.

But what makes Please Stand By the fulsome full length we've all been waiting for from Brent since 2008's Howdy Do (key tracks: "Knock You Out" and "Girls Are Good") is the spit-shined quality of the new songs and their hard-earned messages.

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Latest comment by: Brent Amaker: "THANKS TIG!!!!"

My Favorite Films of 2010 that May As Well Be Imaginary

Like everyone else who sees a lot of movies (I'm at a bit over 250 theatrical viewings for 2010) I feel forced to make a list of what I've liked the best at year's end.

What I realize each year is that sadly many of the films that make my list aren't things that are easy to catch in a theater. Many will eventually make their way to Netflix or other watch at home outlets (if we're lucky) within a year of being on the festival circuit. So in the imaginary spirit, here are nine great films of 2010 that never got a theatrical release in Seattle but screened at at least one US festival in 2010. Many include a link to a longer review I wrote when I originally saw each film.  Here's hoping they make their way back to Seattle before the big budget remake of each does…

Au Revoir Tapei (Taiwan) - Sadly, I suspect few audiences in the US are going to get a chance to see this gem of a film. Just about the perfect little sweet film for a day at the movies. If you want black comedy, painful relationships, aching over life regrets, suicide, slavery, or abuse of children/animals/pop-music go elsewhere. Boy gets dumped by girl, gets mixed up with mobsters, and wanna-be mobsters channeling Pee Wee Herman. And dumplings, my lord the dumplings. Just see it by any means necessary.

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "I LOVE this list and am now thinking about doing a SIFF-only list (as that tends to be the only film fest I go to) at the end of next year. :) "

Imaginary Liz's favorite songs of 2010

Best Songs of 2010 indie-pop style

It usually isn't in my nature to go against the John Roderick grain, but when it comes to end of year lists of favorites, I can't help myself. I have to gather all of my favorite songs into an MP3 scrapbook for my own current and future mental sanity.

Perusing the song stacks of the past year allows me to recall and file the past year before opening up my next year's calendar. Having an MP3 scrapbook gives me a one stop shop when, a year or even 15 days from now, I ask my-list-driven-self "What was 2010?" {because aren't all of our best memories tied to a song?}.

The answer to that question is below in the form of the playlist of my Imaginary Liz's Favorites Songs of 2010 mix:

1. Stornoway - Zorbing / Beachcomber's Windowsill
This is a solid album that is a soothing blend of a bashful Mumford & Sons, randy Features with a pinch of John Denver. This is the most rocking song on the album and the best Stornoway gateway drug, although I nearly featured "Long Distance Lullaby" on this record because I'm a sucker for love letters about late night phone calls. If I was the kind of girl that would have two songs by the same band on a single mixtape, "Long Distance Lullaby" would be a great way to end this year's wrap up.

2. Drums - Let's Go Surfing / The Drums
I'm a sucker for their Spector-esque take on the new wave of the retro reverb. I also love that igDana suggested that the chorus is actually, "Obama, I want to go shopping!"

3. Allo Darlin' - Kiss Your Lips / Allo Darlin'
It is far from hyperbolic to say this is my album of the year if not the decade. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's got the sweet coy of Heavenly, the foresight of Weezer (name checked in this song), and the jangle guitar of the Wedding Present. I've got several candles lit in hopes Allo Darlin returns to Seattle this year {they are set to play the San Francisco PopFest over Memorial Day weekend - which is just a hopskipjump away!}. They are getting a lot of attention from critics and record store fans far and wide, so I can only hope that Allo Darlin' is the future of sweetheart pop {and that sweetheart pop is the future of twee}.

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Latest comment by: ig viva: "yay! I heart that the head and the heart made it onto your best-of horizon!"

Imaginary Victoria's best of 2010, part one: seventeen new releases that knocked the stripes right off my kneesocks.

{bop street records / by victoria vanbruinisse}

I know, I know. Writing best of 2010 lists is so three-weeks-ago. But with such a good year in music having just passed, it would be remiss of me to not to let the imaginary-sphere know about a few of my favorite close-of-the-oughts things. I've never been a big subscriber to "this is better than that" -- it's not easy to put so much different stuff on one plane and deem some of them better, some of them worse -- so instead of file and rank, I've compiled a few chunks of albums, shows, and random happenings that made it to 'awesome' status for me over the last twelve months, with commentary, in no strict order.

That said, this best-of is meant to be enjoyed. Maybe your life was altered at the same show mine was, or maybe the same album had you trapped in the car for an hour listening tracks on repeat. Whichever is the case, remember one thing above all else: as John Roderick so eloquently stated earlier this week, "If you are too busy to discover new albums for yourself, the last thing you need is a list of more albums to buy. You should take a hot bath instead."

Agreed.

That said, let's start with the releases. I was seriously impressed with the amount of great EPs and LPs that came out this year, and this is coming from someone who's held fast to the belief that there hasn't been a 'great' year for new music since about 2005 or so. (Obviously, with a few onesie exceptions here and there.) Maybe it has to do with where I'm at and what I'm capable of absorbing at any given point, but seriously -- I'm able to look back at what made it into my itunes from January until now, and can state with confidence that some honest-to-goodness talented shit rose to the surface above the onslaught of mediocre that is now deemed 'indie' and/or 'indie rock' these days. (PS: in most cases, there's very little new music that can truly be deemed 'indie rock.' I'm just saying. When the next Wrens album comes out, we'll talk.)

Tied for First Place:
* Lovesick Empire / The Grind EP - I simply can not get enough of this EP. It's a sound that invokes a proper nod to grunge (which is seemingly inherent, rather than purposeful), laden with powerful big-guitar ache and smart lyrics to match. Catch them in the third-of-five spot at Neumos next Friday, January 7th before you head out to Columbia City (see below). {listen / free download}{tickets}
* Damien Jurado / Saint Bartlett - This ambitously-recorded album is a bold departure from Jurado's previous work, with a layered, throwback, one-take sound that begs to be heard on vinyl. Wielding the CD in my car on the way home from the West Seattle Easy Street pre-release show, I found myself pulled over on John Street, listening to "Beacon Hill" about twenty times in a row -- if you didn't pick this up yet, you can grab a copy at his upcoming show on Friday, January 7th at Columbia City Theater. {buy album}{tickets}
* The Head and the Heart / (s/t) - Unless you've lived under a rock since about April or so, you know why this band made my best-ofs. There's hardly enough adjective left that hasn't already been used since this band hit my radar over the summer, and they've gone from the stages of Conor Byrne and Sonic Boom to opening sets for Dave and Tim's most recent run of shows -- and with good cause. If you're lucky enough to have picked up tickets to the January 15th show at Neumos later this month (we're including the link in case any get released between now and then), I'll see you there! {buy album}{tickets}

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Latest comment by: Jflores: "

Nice read!

"

Imaginary Listage: My Favorite (and Least Favorite) Movies of 2010

Inception

Every year in December, I go through the same thing: I look at the giant list of movies I’ve seen and sigh and hem/haw and freak out because omfg I can’t find 10 that I think were “the best”. Which is stupid, because I know it’s totally personal, and everyone’s list is going to be different, and there probably are only like 3 people who will even read this list anyway, and they are all my friends whom I've told the list to...(welcome to a glimpse inside my self-centered, paranoid mind). 

Anyway, this year I decided to take the easy route by naming the 10 that I thoroughly enjoyed enough to buy and watch over and over again—but to spare you any pain, I also included 5 of what I thought were the absolute WORST this year, so you can avoid them at all costs.

BEST
1. Inception: I can’t stop thinking about this movie. Like, ever. Brilliant acting, action, suspense, thrills, and special effects. I love you, Christopher Nolan.
2. Toy Story 3: Yeah, it’s a weeper. But it’s also hilarious. This is an example of what every animated film should be. 
3. Black Swan: If there’s one thing Aronofsky knows how to do, it’s obsession. And honestly Natalie Portman rocks it so hard in this movie that I was kind of surprised.
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Man som hatar kvinoor): There is no way you can ever convince me that an American remake is needed. This was perfect, as is.
5. Marwencol: Another weeper, but this time, it’s real. I challenge anyone to watch this and not be fascinated (and touched) by it.

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "I am pleased you like my list, Chris! You have great taste, so I applaud your liking of Greenberg (esp. since I was pretty sure most people would say, "WHAT!!"). :) "

Let's talk about our favorite Pacific Northwest releases of 2010 {now and on KUOW}

the head and the heart

{Head and the Heart photo by Victoria VanBruinnisse from the Imaginary Flickr Photo Pool}

I love this time of year. Besides the {sometimes forced} joyous disposition of folks and my annual fancy birthday breakfast {on December 24 for those keeping track}, we all get to ruminate on the best albums and songs of the year for hours on end.

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Latest comment by: KAC: "1. Perfume Genius 2. Damien Jurado 3. Fences"