Tonight in Seattle:  

Crushes

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.

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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.

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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

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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}

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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}

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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:

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Highlights from Pickathon 2013

It was another incredible year out on Pendarvis Farm for this year's installment of Pickathon. Having had our inaugural visit last year, blistering temperatures and all, we knew that this year's trip would be nothing short of fantastic! With a great lineup (and cooler forecast) on the horizon, we went into the weekend with high expectations, and every single one of them was met. Here's a few highlights that made the weekend downright magical:

{Andrew Bird / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Andrew Bird with Tift Merritt & Band

Hiking out to a stage built out of (mostly) branches in the middle of the woods to see Andrew Bird do an offbeat, slightly bluegrass-tinged set on opening night was without a doubt order of business number one for us this year. Greeted upon arrival to the catchy beats and gritty guitar hooks of Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside wafting out into the parking lot, we wandered onto the grounds and took in most of their mainstage set, immediately following it with that hike to the Woods Stage -- where we found throngs of people amassed around progressive African electro-pop band Vieux Farke, who delivered an unexpectedly blistering, make-the-whole-audience dance performance. And suddenly, a mere two hours into this year's whirlwind Farm Experience, it was already time for Andrew Bird.

{Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside

{Andrew Bird / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Andrew Bird / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Andrew Bird / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Andrew Bird / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Andrew Bird / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Andrew Bird with Tift Merritt & Band

In a fit of total perfection, Andrew Bird proceeded to enrapture us with an easy-breezy Bowl Of Fire vibe that we hadn't experienced in-person before, and it was downright incredible. Living up to every ounce of expecatation we'd collectively put on him, Bird played the bulk of his hour-long set with Tift Merritt and members of her band huddled around a single mic, crooning out into the darkness to an attentive mass of festivalgoers:

And that was just the first night!

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Celebrate 15 years of Barsuk! {UPDATED!}

{Barsuk Is The Best}

UPDATE:

The lineup has been announced, and it's a doozy! The Long Winters performing When I Pretend to Fall, Nada Surf performing Let Go, Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter, Menomena -- plus tons of other bands and special guests! The links below have all been updated, and non-VIP wristbands are available to get you in to all four shows for a mere sixty dollars. They're on sale now, so get to clicking!

***

It's a red-letter day, you guys!!

Last weekBack in June, our friends at Barsuk announced their fifteen year anniversary celebration. After we all get our faces melted off listening to Death Cab for Cutie run Transatlanticism start-to-finish at Bumbershoot, we'll have a mere sixty days until a weekend of incredible shows: from Thursday, November 7th through Sunday, November 10th, Barsuk will be showcasing present and alumni artists at lineups across town; specifically, at the Showbox, the Neptune, the Tractor, and Neumos / Barboza. Holy shit!

Before you start building your fantasy shows off of the roster {like, Ben Gibbard doing a set of All-Time Quarterback songs to open up for John Vanderslice opening up for Nada Surf at the Tractor, maybe?}, get this: today at noon, Barsuk is selling fifty pre-sale wristbands that get you into all four shows, with Uber transportation to and from each one and a complete set of limited edition numbered and signed screenprints {by Jason Munn}. The wristbands are $175.00, which works out to about $43.00 per show for the bands and a ride and a poster. That's not new math or anything, it's just a really fucking good deal. In fact, it saves you money! And PS, all of the net proceeds -- all of them, from these wristbands and all of the single show tickets -- are going to benefit Gilda's Club Seattle.

So: set your timer for 11:55a PST, bust out that credit card, and head on over to the ticketing page to get ready -- these wristbands are going to sell out in a hot minute. As the lineups are announced and single-show tickets go on sale later this month, we'll be sure to post all the details, so check back often for news!

Summer lovin', had me some jams!

{KEXP library / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

I recommend all these tunes because apparently I can't stop playing 'em: here's a quick alphabetical assessments of what's been hummin' in my iPod on Metro the past few weeks!

The Blank Tapes, "Coast To Coast" from the album Vacation

A little Zombies-meets-Badfinger surf hippie flower power pop from this (not surprising) SoCal band. The Blank Tapes is Matt Adams, an eight-track addict who piles on the tasty garage riffs atop lyrics about throwing the gear in the van and leaving baby behind, and not necessarily paranoid conspiracy theory podcasts. (Although there is a line about "Waking up the ghosts ....") Breathy a-has, peeling oranges, the radio is playing, as Matt and his pals hit your town. Sample lyric: "Malibu/touching you." Currently touring everywhere from Huntington Beach to Santa Cruz. I imagine they always will be, happily.

Cali Giraffes, "All My Life" b/w "Lazy Days" single

Evan Dando had something to do with the origins of this band, which I find confusing and yet somehow understandable (still a damned shame about Ray). But the deep adoration comes for Fastbacks' legendary bass goddess Kim Warnick's vocals on the A-side here, a jumping, joyful, but gentle lyrical variation on the meaning of Blondie's "One Way Or Another." And co-creator Mikey Davis takes the mic on the just-as-great pining and slacker days-celebrating B-side "lazy Days." Both are chockful of chiming, grinding hedonistic thrills, in the sunshine, by the fire, wherever life-loving major chord happiness can be found. A perfect match!

Daughn Gibson, "The Sound Of Law" from the album Me Moan

This sounds like a dust-kicking American Gothic soundtrack to a big 70s car racing movie, with celebrity-stars like Burt Reynolds but also some sinister dude like Jack Nicholson in an inimal subplot sabotaging the prize, or maybe in-between in some oil-saturated slice of life like Two Lane Blacktop. Anyways, next track on the Sub Pop elpee is "Phantom Rider" which is just as good, and the whole thing is certainly worth owning. Rumor has it this Pennsylvania truck driver's sound is a new thing, and it certainly drawls well and peels out of the parking lot slow. Neat neat neat nocrturnal automobile-soul rock. I give it two bong-loads and a box of Pine Tree air fresheners. 

Future Bible Heroes, "Living, Loving, Partygoing" from the album Partygoing

Like a much more friendly (and queer and cool-weird and not at all violent) take on Spring Breakers, all tinsely keys and Top 40 melodies, floating from scenes like "John Waters' soiree" and "Mink Stoles' birthday," deejaying, taking "god knows what and danced till dawn," getting into clown's shoes and waking up with two friends in the same bed after sleeping for half a week. This is probably the happiest thing Stephen Merritt ever wrote, and it's gloriously transgressive while being awesomely frisky. Really gorgeous and fun and would be blasting out of every passing car stereo if a true tastemaker like John Waters himself ran the country.

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