Tonight in Seattle:  

Crushes

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.

more...

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.

Weeknight Show Roulette: Jacco Gardner at Barboza {this Wednesday, 10/9}

Sometimes, your friends are all, "You wanna go to a psychedelic show next week?" and the only way to answer is with an all-caps YES. And then you dig through the Imaginary Inbox (a real thing!) to see if you can find any intel on a dude named Jacco Gardner coming to Barboza, and you check out the video to see what you just signed yourself up for. And it turns out, you made a good call.*

The structure of Gardner's music is primarily a one-man show, layer after layer of tracks set just right. The sound itself is modern psychedelic, and by "modern" I don't mean mod-sounding, I mean a totally legit take on the quintessential sixties vibe that sounds current and throwback all at once -- somewhere between how Joni Mitchell's Blue is utterly timeless, and how those real-deal roots musicians put factory-spun stomp-and-clap bands to shame. At first glance, the new album (Cabinet of Curiosities) kind of sounds like Cloud War minus the XTC vibe, spliced with some Liam Finn and a boatload of hallucinogens, with gorgeous choral melodies and a whole lotta harpsichord. And the song from the video above, "End of August," makes me want to put on big headphones in the middle of a field somewhere in an overstuffed armchair -- maybe with a crocheted blanket? -- so I have a squishy front-row seat to trip out in, while I watch summer fade.

more...

Don't miss: Laura Veirs at the Tractor {tonight!}

Okay, so, there's seriously at least a dozen places to go tonight in town tonight. Fiona Apple is at Benaroya, Mark Pickerel and his Praying Hands are doing a set at Easy Street (for free! 8pm), Dave Chappelle is at the Moore, Fox and the Law have their album release at Neumos, Dug is going down at Lo-Fi... and while they'll all be great shows, I'm putting my bet on Laura Veirs and Karl Blau at the Tractor.

"Sun Song," my favorite track off of Veirs' most recent release Warp & Weft, strikes a very specific chord with me as a now-resident of the Pacific Northwest: her bell-like vocals wrap long arms around the cities I know and love, when the warmth finally wins out over the mossy bones, string-plucks celebrating the first rays of sun breaking through they grey skies.

And to speak to the entirety of Warp & Weft, from her bio:

Beautiful, lush and at times deeply dark, "Warp and Weft" captures the intensity of motherhood, love and violence. Primarily electric-guitar driven, it is a fever dream of an album and could well be Veirs’ best work to date... Veirs was eight months pregnant with her second child during the recording; she says her experience as a mother brought about some of the more beautiful and painful songs. “I’m haunted by the idea that something terrible could happen to my kids but that fear pushes me to embrace the moment. This record is an exploration of extremes – deep, dark suffering and intense, compassionate love.”

Add in opener Karl Blau and you've got a recipe for a near-perfect night of northwest music. Feel all those from-here feelings in real-time tonight at the Tractor: the 21-and-up party gets started at 9:30pm, advance tickets are $15 and available here.


 

This Transatlanticism demo is the best thing you'll buy without hearing all day, promise

 
"I can't wait to go / grey."

I have the new / old Transatlanticism demos in my earholes right now, you guys, and I am seriously freaking out. The short version is that they are fucking incredible: "Sound of Settling" >> "Tiny Vessels" will pull your heartstrings and finish you off with a one-two punch of feels; "Passenger Seat" puts you right in the room with Ben and the piano. Although prone to hyperbole, I mean it without exaggeration when I say that these tracks are downright stunning.

Listening to Transatlanticism is always an all-encompassing experience, and the demos take it a step further: I feel like I'm holding a perfectly preserved time capsule, a glimpse into the as-is idea-brains of the musicians behind one of, for me at least, the most seminal albums of the early 00s. Reverse-equivalent to my recent obsession with the Wrens' deconstructed cover of "They'll Need A Crane" by TMBG, it's a preconstruction snapshot of what these songs were about to become, and it gives a beautiful, perhaps priceless, insight into the band's creative process.

more...

Don't miss: Father John Misty at the Moore {10/6}

Weed, shows, cruise ships, guns, visits to Santa, long drives, pirouettes, cigarettes, meaningful glances, hotel hallways -- who can provide such an ADD-esque (yet totally cohesive) snapshot of his life into a three minute and fifty-eight second video?

Father John Fucking Misty, that's who.


"This is where I fell over the other night."

The most DIY of FJM's video releases to date, "I'm Writing a Novel" hits our radar oh-so-fittingly, just as a stripped-down solo tour is getting underway. With such a penchant for stage antics, it will be downright fascinating to see what Josh Tillman's one-man act brings -- we have the feeling that his creative power / persona will manifest both through his gorgeous, bell-like vocals and levity-laden delivery, with just enough shaman-tinged-Laurel-Canyon vibe to remain decidedly Father John. (Even without the now-trademark "Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings" full-blast freakout.)

Here's some supporting evidence:


"I don't need any new friends / 'cause I'm the mayor"

In case you've missed our love for FJM since last year's release of Fear Fun, pop on over here to catch up. Local and national dates below:

Oct. 03 - San Francisco, CA - Slims
Oct. 06 - Seattle, WA - The Moore Theatre {info / tickets}
Oct. 07 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theatre
Oct. 08 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore

more...

Saturday at Bumbershoot: so many Charles Bradley Feelings!

{Charles Bradley / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
"Oooooooooooooooh." Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires at the Mural Stage.

So, I think the Bumbershoot day with the most back-to-back Peak Experiences {Bob Mould! Death Cab! the Breeders! Patton Oswalt!} had to be Sunday -- but the runner up, just by a hair, was Saturday, AKA Charles Bradley Day. He bookended my day, playing early on at the KEXP Music Lounge, and at 8pm on the Starbucks stage (at the Mural, above). I say this without hyperbole: both performances were nothing short of incredible, because every time I see him, Charles takes me straight to church. A gritty, guts-of-New York church; a dirty, funky church where no one judges me, and where I can get up in the aisle and do the robot in a crop top if I feel like it.

Performing with his Extraordinaires, the morning vibe was set off just right, wall-to-wall with killer jams and followed by a hug -- quite literally -- for everyone in the first three rows.

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

It was just as good at the evening performance, with a little more strut and a lot more sequins (photos are only permitted during the first few songs, but just imagine Charles having a sparkly jacket costume-change mid set AND IT BEING SUPER AWESOME):

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

more...

Is it the weekend yet? Bumbershoot 2013 is almost here!

{TheeSatisfaction at Bumbershoot 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
THEESatisfaction, Bumbershoot 2012

With the excitement of Bumbershoot's approach comes that sad-trombone realization that summer is coming to a close (seriously you guys, LABOR DAY ALREADY?) and in this year's case, a particularly mighty and sunny Seattle summer at that. But really, what better way to spend it than a breezy weekend down at Seattle Center, taking in bands and art and comedy and panels and everything that this year's festival has to offer?

There's so much great programming at Bumbershoot that it seems literally impossible to get to All Of The Things that one wants to see -- and with that said, here are each day's absolute can't-miss non-negotiables on my music schedule this year:

{Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot 2011 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Charles Bradley, Bumbershoot 2011

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires {Saturday}

Seriously. Between 2011's No Time for Dreaming and this year's Victim of Love, Saturday's sets are sure to be jam-packed with that new-classic soul feel that Charles does so well. To quote the emoting that shot forth when the "Strictly Reserved for You" video came out: this man isn't just a performer, he is a literal force -- and he'll give you that capitalized Experience we all hope for at a show. Fuck it, I'm calling it now: Charles Bradley's set is going to be my Ultimate Festival Moment (tied with the Death Cab set, natch, but we'll get to that in a minute). Lucikly, you'll have two chances to partake in the bliss, as Charles and the Extraordinaires will be doing their main set on the Starbucks Stage on Saturday at 8pm, and if you were lucky enough to get a ticket, you can double-dip with a performance earlier that day for KEXP.

Speaking of, can we take a minute to talk about KEXP's Bumbershoot Lounge? Their series of in-studios are almost like a fest within the fest, with excellent crowd control and icy air conditioning. The station has lined up Thao and the Get Down Stay Down {Saturday}, Charles Bradley {Saturday}, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside {Sunday}, Bob Mould {Sunday}, Superchunk {Monday} -- and that's just a fraction of the performers. The full schedule of bands is on the KEXP site here, but if you aren't already signed up for a seat, you're shit out of luck. Sorry. (We'll be sure to post pictures for you next week, promise!)

Other heavy hitters for Saturday: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down {Fountain Lawn Stage, 3:30pm}, !!! {TuneIn Stage, 6:15pm}, Washed Out {Fountain Lawn Stage, 9pm}, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside {Plaza Stage, 9:30pm}, Heart {Mainstage, 9:45pm}

Death Cab for Cutie {Sunday}

As stated above, this one will be a tie for Ultimate Festival Moment, no contest. Transatlanticism start to finish = heart-explosion of monumental proportions. There's not even anything I can say about it besides (1) HOLY SHIT, it's been ten years?? and (2) see you in the front row. Mainstage, Sunday night, 9:45pm. Earlier on Sunday, the Words and Ideas Stage will host a panel at high noon, with a conversation about Barsuk Records (and their 15th anniversary!) with none other than Josh Rosenfeld, Sean Nelson, John Roderick, and David Bazan at the helm.

There's plenty to do in-between these Barsuk-y bookends on Sunday, specifically: The Redwood Plan {12:15pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Ramona Falls {12:45pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Tegan and Sara {2pm, Mainstage}, David Bazan {3:30pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Katie Kate {4:30pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Comettes {5pm, Plaza Stage}, Mates of State {5:15pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Bob Mould {6:15pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Grizzled Mighty {6:30pm, Plaza Stage}, The Breeders {8pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Zombies {8:15pm, Starbucks Stage}, Matt and Kim {10pm, TuneIn Stage}

more...

New Wimps video!

Happy Tuesday, imaginaries! Here's some early morning slap-in-the-face mod-punk jams from our pals in Wimps by way of their newest video, for "Hello Frustration." This track showcases everything we love about this band, best described by piggybacking on the heels of Chris Estey's most recent summer jams post about another A+ Wimps track, "Grump":

And here we end up back in the surf again, but it's the nasty end-of-night surf, after a day thrift shopping with B-52s, screaming along with X-Ray Spex in the trashed Cadillac you stole with your pals to cruise out to the beach, running into Geza X on some sound-waves. Cranky on crank and cranked up really high all at the same cesspool-swimming time, past cheeseburgers and bad routines and festering habits and the oozing complaint file ("it's all downhill from here"). Thank damaged goods for crunchy two-note riffs piled into a foot-stomping chorus: "You may be sick of me but don't be such a grump!" As Kierkegaard said about repetitions, this way brain-shattered bliss lies if that's your nitrous gas-bag.

On the odd chance you're not hooked on Wimps already, here's another glimpse of what got us on the junk in the first place back in March:

more...