Tonight in Seattle:  

Crushes

Don't miss: Temples at Neumos {tonight!}

We'll keep this short and sweet: if you know what's good for you, Seattle, you'll get your butt down to Neumos tonight to see Temples. Simply stated, they're mostly modern post-psych, with the slightest hint of fringe-math sensibility -- maybe a few jazz theory classes, perhaps? -- and we mean that as a compliment. RIYL: the most recent Tame Impala record; bands that are tight as shit.

That Kinks cover is killer and all, but really, they'll sound more like this:

Right? Seriously.

Bring your earplugs and get there early!

{8pm / $15 adv / 21+. Drowners open.}

An evening with Eef Barzelay {Friday, May 9th}

{Eef Barzelay}Mark your calendars, sweet imaginary friends, because this is a good one: your pal and ours, the one and only Eef Barzelay {of Clem Snide fame} will be making a stop in Seattle on Friday, May 9th, and you're all invited to the show. Well, not all of you, technically, since it's a house show -- there's only going to be room for a mere forty of us to experience this intimate night together.

Okay, let's rephrase: everyone is invited and everyone is welcome, and we're going to fit as many of our bodies as we can into that house next month. (And that happens to be approximately forty of us.) Everyone who buys a ticket to the show will be entered to win a custom cover song from Eef -- PS, those typically go for $100.00 -- on top of having a gorgeously intimate night floor-side.

In case you're not up to speed on what Eef's been doing lately -- everyone's got their favorite solo-Eef and Clem Snide songs embedded into those go-to mixes, us included -- take a listen to his releases from this past February 14th. Always the master of covers, Eef's done it again with a set of classics and one new (NSFW) track.

This one's clear for streaming wherever you please, though:

Pick up your pass here, and we'll see you at the show next month!

{Photo courtesy of the artist.}

Is it summer yet? Pickathon 2014 lineup announced {8/1-3}

Hoo-wee, friends! Adding Pickathon to our summer festival circuit schedule two years ago might have been the best, sunniest, dusty-boots-est move we've ever made, having spent long hot weekends steeped in performances by Andrew Bird, Dr. Dog, Langhorne Slim, the Mynabirds, Neko Case, Sharon van Etten, Thee Oh Sees, King Tuff, Phosphorescent -- just to name a few. And looking at this year's lineup, our time spent at Pickathon 2014 is going to be no exception.

In case you're not familiar, Pickathon is an intimate, homegrown, multi-stage festival out on a farm (Pendarvis Farm, to be exact) in Happy Valley, Oregon that takes place every year in August. But contrary to popular belief, it's not all banjos and stardust -- although there are a little bit of both, in good and appropriate amounts. Pickathon showcases a wide spectrum of bands, with this year's lineup hosting gems like X and Blind Pilot next to indie bands Warpaint and Courtney Barnett. There really is something for everyone, and with each band playing multiple performances on different stages over the weekend, your chances are better-than-good to get a glimpse of all the music you'd like to take in.

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Don't miss: Tom Brosseau at the Fremont Abbey {2/26}

{Tom Brosseau / by Nathaniel Wood}

No surprises here: I've been looking forward to this show since it hit my radar almost two months ago, when I was making my best-of-2013 lists and had to throw in an honorable mention for this guy's pending release. Yes, I'm talking about Tom Brosseau and yes, the final cut of the record is as good as I'd hoped. He'll be at the Fremont Abbey this Wednesday night with Shelby Earl, and if you know what's good for you, you won't miss it.

To speak to the album for a moment, Grass Punks is hands-down my favorite release since 2005's what I mean to say is goodbye, and as I type this I can't believe that nearly ten years have passed between them. While a beautiful body of work has been birthed in that decade, Grass Punks rings my bells so specifically because it's just very... well, Tom: a perfect fusing of traditional roots sound with a razor-sharp edge; a hybrid of North Dakota wheatfields and blistering days on the streets of Los Angeles. His dense, multi-faceted prowess shines through in separate-but-equal ways in standout tracks "Love High John The Conqueror Root" and "Today Is A Bright New Day," both of which are yours for the listening and purchasing here (and below).

The Northwest leg of the tour kicks off tonight at Mississippi Studios, with a handful of left-coast dates that dip down into California and an appearance at SXSW before Tom heads off to Europe:

2.25 // Mississippi Studios, Portland OR
2.26 // Fremont Abbey, Seattle WA
2.27 // Axe and Fiddle, Cottage Grove OR
2.28
// Veterans Memorial Theatre, Davis CA
3.01 // House concert, Sacramento CA
3.03 //
Freight and Salvage, Berkeley CA
3.04 // House concert, San Francisco CA
3.06 // North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe, San Diego CA
3.07 // Sanctuary, Santa Monica CA
3.08
// House Concert, Lompoc CA
3.11 // Javelina, Riot Act Media SXSW Showcase, Austin TX

Tickets for the Fremont Abbey show are right around nine dollars with fees, and are available through Brown Paper Tickets here (first two rows reserved are sold out). 7p doors / 8p show, all ages welcome. We'll see you there!

{Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Wood / Mary Jones Management.}

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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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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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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Don't miss: Quasi at the Tractor {Friday}

Okay. Seriously, can we talk about this for a minute, imaginary friends? Quasi are playing The Tractor on Friday. QUASI. TRACTOR. FRIDAY. FUCK.

Janet Weiss AND Sam Coomes AND that almost-untouchable, best-pairing-since-chocolate-and-peanut-butter vibe, AND a new album (Mole City), and I think our faces just got rocked off before we could even a parking spot in Ballard.

Here's what the press release has to say about it:

Mole City is not in the tradition or deviating from the tradition -- it is the tradition. After 2 decades of launching drums, guitars and pianos through the shifting interzones between harmony and chaos (moonlighting along the way with the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag, Elliott Smith, Built to Spill and a long list of others [Ed. note: LIKE SLANG]), Quasi are a genre of their own -- they write songs in the style of Quasi, and Mole City is the Quasi Song Book: Parlor Sing-alongs for the Last Century.

Now in their 20th year as a band, and a two-piece once again, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss hand-deliver the double album/Liberation Cookbook/Encyclopedia of Kicking Ass, Mole City, to those of us who still care about well-built, homemade objects crafted with integrity, spirit, fire, and skill. In other words, those of us who don’t fit into a world where the empty noise of crass capitalism, slick branding, and high profile hot pants have drowned out nearly all other concerns. Mole City, their ninth album, is a set of anthems for the refuseniks, Molotov tossers, pacifist soldiers and bug-eyed freaks, and Quasi is the band playing as the Titanic of what was once Independent Music goes down.

Amen to that! Get your tickets (if there's any left by now) at The Tractor's (new?) site here. We'll see you in the front row!

{9:30p / 21+ / $15 adv. Hobosexual and Blues Control open.}

XVIII Eyes releases new album, plays Chop Suey TONIGHT

{XVIII Eyes / by Adrien Leavitt}

I've had the newest release from XVIII Eyes {fka Eighteen Individual Eyes} on repeat since the end of last month, trying to find a way to describe the wash of feelings I get from each start-to-finish listen. As a result, I've got notes about how the sound is delivered through a legit indie rock / alt.electro-synth modernized Cure-esque filter, and how a stunning movie-soundscape of capital-R Relationship flashes through my brain with the meter of heartbeat-synced percussion, and how those clear, clean vocals both mirror and constrast piercing guitar work that hits me right in the center of my person.

While those words do, of course, help frame out the personal experience I'm having with this record, rather than attempt to deliver it all into some concise essay about song-feelings, I'm just going to link I'll Keep You here and let you see / hear for yourself:

Thankfully, the vibe of both the album and the fundamental shift in XVIII Eyes' paradigm has been encapsulated in a most excellent descriptive from the album's official press release, excerpted here:

The transformation to something more accessible and decisive – essentially, the tapping of a pop vein - is mirrored in the band’s sophomore release, I’ll Keep You (self-released November 12, 2013). In a guitar-driven pop adventure through sound and space, XVIII Eyes reveal that the dark, brooding figure, the subject in the band’s 2012 debut Unnovae Nights, emerges from the bog turning out to be perfectly human. A handsome stranger that says “hello,” takes you by the hand and says, “Let’s hit it.”   

Triumph, however, is held in delicate balance. Songs like “I’ll Keep You” and “San Francisco” wear themselves inside out as the haunting, hypnotic pulse of the Wood/King rhythm section pushes Barber’s siren warnings (“Your heart just ain’t cold enough / to get caught up in this”, “Now you know what criminals are made of”), but are pulled just out of foreboding reach by Aaron’s sanguine guitar. The commanding psych drive of “SUN150” shifts pace and carries an urgent message of steadfast romance heard throughout the album.

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New Damien Jurado album available for preorder

Jesus is out of his goddamn mind, and I want to live in Damien’s America.

So states Father John Misty today over at Spin.com, as part of an essay on Damien Jurado's forthcoming (read: January 2014) release, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. From what the trailer implies, this is the next step in the Saint Bartlett > Maraqopa trajectory, and it's a damn good one.

What do you do with all this incredulousness? Preorder the album, and sit tight for a few months. The album proper is out on the 21st, and your digital download will arrive a few weeks prior.

Damien heads to Europe in early December, with a show at the Neptune on January 17th to celebrate.

Latest comment by: Blizzet: "That should be easy. However, they need to get the message across right there. - Kris Krohn "