Tonight in Seattle:  


The KEXP pledge drive is on! Donate today!

Tuned in to 90.3 FM here in Seattle this week? If so, you may have noticed that our friends over at the station (yep, we're talking about the crew at KEXP) are smack in the middle of their final pledge drive for the year, and we'd like to remind you that making a donation is part of the imaginary way! Did you know that site founders Liz and Dana met one fateful day in the pledge room over a decade ago? And that KEXP is one of the big reasons Victoria relocated to the Pacific Northwest back in 2008? No kidding.

Whatever your story, if you're a fan of TIG, we're quite sure that KEXP has played an important role in your world -- whether it's something as simple as a memorable driveway moment, or if the music they champion and the community they support has interspersed throughout whole chapters of your life. In either case, right now is the perfect time to put your money where your heart is: donate online at, or put a call in to that pledge room (yep, the very same one!) by dialing (206)903-5397.

You'll be glad you did! We can quite literally guarantee it.

{Photo courtesy of the KEXP blog.}

Latest comment by: ig viva: "john! I totally spaced that. all the more reason to donate!!"

Don't miss (seriously): Michael Kiwanuka and Nathaniel Rateliff at the Showbox, 10/5

Undoubtedly, you've heard of Michael Kiwanuka already. He's exploding out of the London scene, is up for a Mercury Prize, and has a sound that swings effortlessly from singer-songwriter to (semi-tortured) soul to jazz and back again. A quick glance at a sampler of his sounds proves this, as he invokes everything from Charles Bradley to Nick Drake, from modern fusion sounds to throwback, shuffly-snare alt.doo-wop tracks.

Adding his 2012 release Home Again to what you're taking in over the course of 2012 is a given, and you'd do yourself well to pick up a pair (or two) of tickets to see him at the Showbox this coming Friday, October 5th. But what I really tuned in to throw a flag up about this morning was the opener for this Friday's show, who is none other than Denver, Colorado's Nathaniel Rateliff. You may have heard me gushing on about him before, or perhaps you caught him at the Triple Door in 2010, or opening up for Jessica Lea Mayfield at the Tractor last year.

But if you haven't taken in the bliss that is Nathaniel as of yet, I have one word for you: Run. Run to pick up 2010's In Memory of Loss, run to get to the Showbox early on Friday night {just after you stop by The Imaginary Poster Show, perhaps?} and get yourself a spot up front for his performance. His primal yawps that erupt mid heartstring-pull during his well-crafted songs will leave you gripping the edge of the stage, full of defeat and hope simultaneous, wishing he'd go on for hours. Not convinced? Stream In Memory... track by track here. Right? I know. Now, go pick up tickets to Friday's show before it sells out.


{$15.00 adv / all ages / 8p. Foy Vance opens.}

This is what you're doing tonight: Heligoats at the Comet

{Chris Otepka / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

You remember Heligoats, right? Of course you do: sweet, Bellingham-spun, beautifully delirious frontman of the band Chris Otepka was kind enough to grace us with his presence with a solo performance at our Imaginary Holiday Spectacular last year. Tonight, he's bringing the whole band out at the Comet Tavern {yep, tonight-tonight, Thursday the 27th} and you're all invited. All of you!

Go listen to Fishsticks on the band's Facebook page, or take a spin or two around any of the albums he's got on the internet, or listen to the Tiny Desk concert he did a bit ago on NPR:

or play this video from one of his old bands:

and seriously tell me you're not going to come to the show tonight.

{21+ / cheap / be there. Heligoats is second on the four-band bill. Photo of Chris Otepka by Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Latest comment by: Matthew R Robinson: "thanks for the lovely write up! any heligoats fan in any place of the works holds a special place in my heart. I'd be there if it whereunto for living in dallas tx. but i wanted to stop by and share appreciation for your appreciation of such a creative and ...

Showing out-of-town bands around Seattle: The Pauses edition

Okay, maybe “around Seattle” is a misnomer, as it was really “around Capitol Hill”. Anyway! On Monday {9/17}, I met up with Tierney, Jason, (tour drummer) Cash, and Sammy near The Comet Tavern before their show, and naturally, they were all hungry.

My first thought was Bimbo’s—but a claim was made that they were all “kind of burrito’d out…” and so, I suggested The Honey Hole: king of the deliciously huge sandwiches. Even though I lamented the loss of The Spicoli from the menu (say it ain’t so, Honey Hole!), I found a sammich I loved, and so did everyone else. And there was much rejoicing.

After dinner, I rounded up the coffee drinkers and took them over to Stumptown (don’t get mad at me, people, I KNOW Stumptown is a Portland roaster, but it’s my favorite place on the hill to grab coffee!) for some yummy lattes. They all agreed I hadn’t oversold it (thankfully), and that it was really, really, really good. And there was much rejoicing—and laughing over the giant duck decoy they use as a restroom key holder.


Don't miss: Father John Misty at Neumos {this Friday, 9/21}

We've waxed on and on and on and on and on about All Things Father John Misty: the necessity of owning Fear Fun, the brilliance of the performances, and reason after reason why you need to see this band live to truly appreciate the jam that J. Tillman and Co. have got going on. But on the odd chance you haven't been listening (for shame!), here's a bit of an imaginary highlight reel that will hopefully convince you that this Friday's performance at Neumos is absolutely, hands-down, without-a-doubt the place you need to be.

First, Imaginary Victoria's take on our first listen of the leaked album, way back in February:

It's an incredible departure from anything we've ever heard J./osh Tillman involved in thus far, and a few of our first listens, it almost feel like a sampler of everything he's been waiting to play for the world, and everything we've been waiting to hear but didn't know we needed. Fear Fun is some kind of mad genius that we can't quite find the right adjectives for yet, as we're still waist-deep in absorbing both the lyrical content and sonic experimentation of it all: pure, clear vocals laden over with seventies-esque easy-listening key-change sensibilities and a side of jangly guitar twang, fused together with a full-frontal balls-out sound that takes time to digest and process. This album is smart, complicated, soothing yet uncomfortable, brash yet kind -- it doesn't sound like anything else we know, which leaves us with the overall feeling that Father John Misty just might be the Brian Wilson of the post indie rock set.

And Chris Estey's full review of Fear Fun, our only full "10" of 2012 thus far:

It involves a lot of reading Beats and bards and bohemian travel writers; writing reams of visions and observations and humiliating admissions; listening to a whole lot of great albums from the later Vietnam era created by PTSD-shaken troubadours; perfervidly working on demos with producer/singwriter comrade Jonathan Wilson, and bringing on board Phil Ek to help mix it. Also: treehouse living with spiders, Canadian Shamans who share a little too much intoxicant, Adderall and weed otherwise, a lot of funerals, fumbling drinks, and novels needing to be written as one lives life like a "You take your chances here, pal" roller coaster.


Three Imaginary Girls presents The Pauses at The Comet {9/17}

Hey! You guys! Remember way back in May 2011 when I was gushing all over The Pauses debut album, A Cautionary Tale? Well. THEY ARE FINALLY COMING TO SEATTLE TO PLAY (in support of their new split EP with Great Deceivers) and TIG is presenting the show!!!!!!

There are just not enough exclamation points for this post. I mean it. I cannot wait to see them play live! They are coming all the way from Florida!

Please join me at The Comet on Monday, Sept. 17 at 8:30pm for some awesome tunes by The Pauses, Best Band from Earth, and The Black Tones. Three bands for $6! A total steal. 

{The Pauses w/The Black Tones and Best Band from Earth | The Comet Tavern | Doors at 8:30pm, 21+ | $6}

Some motivation to get you there:

Latest comment by: ig viva: "I'm going to be at a work retreat Monday. So bummed!!"

Swans live at Neumos: come watch Michael's soul meltdown in person {9/7}


Sometimes he who says it pretty much first, says it best. As underground music maven Byron Coley (Forced Exposure zine) scribed on Swans in the January 1987 issue of SPIN, "Records by the Swans have so little to do with pleasure, fun, and the, uh, joy of living that it's no off-a-log-explainin' that they always suck at my ear like some wax-hungry insect.  ... It sounds dumber than vom to say the Swans are 'important' and thus worthy of your time, money, attention; but unfortunately this statement is truth."

I don't remember what "dumber than vom" means, but this was the 80s and it was scary - and Swans were even scarier! Headed Lord of the Flies-style by a tabasco-in-his-veins Michael Gira, these musicians weren't the trippy folky cult rock cool bands he'd been luring kids to listen to the past couple of decades. This Swans was as influential to my tribe of now-geezers as Xiu Xiu has recently been in spawning a certain ennui-infused art rock thang, but massively, all-muscley more-so. 

And that Swans -- the evil sounding, barbarically control-freakish tribe of clatter and grunts which released epics like Holy Money (which BC was describing up there), is taking further swings at God on their new double CD, The Seer. Following up classic Swans on 2010's My Father..., the cosmic daddy issues just won't die. Lots of victims, mostly of their own cocky/cockeyed misguided faith, gassily losing their religion on lit-cigarette-butts-in-the-backyard-on-your-feetsoles "93 Ave. B" and "Song For A Warrior" (guest starring Karen O!). I just picked the package up this weekend and it's like a bad acid trip during a botched assassination that never runs out of ammo. Jarboe, Michael's toughened-up, band boot-camp broken PTSD-partner, has come back to put come "voice collage" on it too, so it's throat-bliss and blood all the way. 

If you think you dig the dark stuff, come out and see a Master handle it. I don't mind being tortured as long as it's by someone who truly knows how to do it and hasn't gone soft. This Mad Man Michael knows exactly what buttons to push; he's not hiding out playing the same campy game over and over again. His various experimentations with sweet musical carrots have made his punishment stick sting that much harder. Thus, it's no exasperated, desperate hoax attempt at noise-trauma: it's the real thing. Think you can handle it? Then drop us a line at tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com with the subject line "IWantToSeeTheSeer" sometime in the next week. We'll close out the submissions at 5p on Wednesday, September 5th and pick a winner +1 to head to Friday's show.

{Swans play Neumos on Friday, September 7th with Xiu Xiu. $25 advance, doors open at 8 p.m.}

Can You Imagine? a perfect night at the Sunset {8/25} and a new album too!

Seattle's own Can You Imagine? are playing the Sunset Tavern this Saturday night, August 25 at 9 p.m. A quintet of classy vets and charming new cherubs, their new album Romance! will be available to purchase there and I recommend you do just that. (Both, come to the show and buy the CD!) It has twelve new jittery-pop slices of girl group growls and swoons and a whole lot of jangle and bang, including twist-and-shout opener "Can You Do The Can You?", which makes me feel like thrift shopping with John Waters, and "Ghosts Are Dumb," which has piles of sweet organ and surf guitar slash. 

CYI? features vivacious vocalist and songwriter Michelle Plaitis, singer-songwriter Rachel Frost on strollin' bass, and Sue Merrill keeps the rhythm section greaser duckbill-sides tight with her on the drums. Also on board is Peter Bagge, yes, that P. Bagge (of many graphic novels and the art scene) -- he's not playing drums here as he did in bands long ago, but scribes songs too and makes those amp waves glisten with his own six-string mission. Handsome fella on the side with all the keys and sound-wonkery is Smilin' Steve Fisk, the Nelson Riddle-Phil Spector of Pac NW studio recording and band-halpin'. (If you just like to hear that man PLAY, don't miss CYI? live, at the very least. But the rest of the band are slammin' fun too, as you will find out.) 

This follow up to their self-titled release finds CYI? increasing the organic dance beats, keeping the shimmer-vocals careening through "Housework" and "Melody And Car Parts," placing the everyday love and money struggles and leaps in pitch-note perfect power pop fit for a timeless Saturday afternoon on the porch with a cocktail and a cute pal. Brill! Ace! Many are story songs but stand up to multi-plays due to the joys of the vocals and the BOMP! of the playing. Album for the summer, and perfect show for the end of August. 

{Can You Imagine? play with Atomic Bride and Thee Midnight Creep on Saturday, August 25, at 9p at the Sunset.}

Some of our must-sees for Bumbershoot 2012 {Sept. 1-3}

{Pickwick at KEXP's Bumbershoot Music Lounge / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

There's plenty to dig into at this year's Bumbershoot Music Festival outside of the big-draw acts (Gotye, anyone?) that make the daily ticket price well worth every hard-earned dollar you're going to spend. There's an impressive comedy lineup, KEXP's always-awesome "secret" Music Lounge, endless vendors, and the sunny goodness of the Seattle Center grounds -- and it all awaits us as another Labor Day weekend looms around the corner. You can head on over to the official Bumbershoot site to go over the schedule and fine-tune a personal lineup, of course -- but here's a few of our hot picks anyway, just in case you find yourself with a case of multi-stage overwhemsion.


Bumbershoot kicks off strong this year with some feel-good bands breaking us in on our first day, like JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound (fingers crossed-times-infinity that they do their killer cover of "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"), Sera Cahoone, and the Barr Brothers, still fresh in our mind from their performance at Pickathon. THEESatisfaction is sure to electro-groove our very souls before we get a good shredding from the Heartless Bastards, and later on we'll gladly close out day one with a bit of Jane's Addiction and M. Ward:

2:30p, Fisher Green Stage: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound
3:30p, Sub Pop Stage (Fountain Lawn): Sera Cahoone
4:30p, The Promenade: Barr Brothers
5:15p, Sub Pop Stage: THEESatisfaction
5:45p, Starbucks Stage (Mural): Heartless Bastards
9:00p, The Promenade: Damien Jurado
9:30p, Mainstage (Key Arena): Jane's Addiction
9:45p, Fisher Green Stage: M. Ward

There's tons to do in that gap during the dinner hour, including the Stranger's Guide to America, grabbing actual dinner, checking out Flatstock, and seeking out one of a bazillion killer comedy acts before picking back up the tunes.


Chugging along into day two, we'll gladly get take our wakeup call from Eighteen Individual Eyes (and a side of the-good-kind-of-bite from Katie Kate) before we ease into a mainstage set at Key Arena from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (hell yes!!). There's a run of favorites and Sub Pop all-stars through the afternoon, with blissy sets from the Young Evils, the Fruit Bats, and Mudhoney; and another day'll easily get knocked out of the park with a closing set from Wanda Jackson and those Dusty 45s:


What I did on my summer vacation

{The following post is courtesy of our new friend and California correspondent, Imaginary Michelle. Take it away, girl!}
{Shearwater / by Michelle Hazuda}
For my summer vacation, I didn't take a cruise or hit the beach. I didn't go camping or visit a national park. I didn't even go to the movies or visit a single amusement park. Nope, I decided to follow Shearwater on their west coast tour instead. They are my favorite band, after all, and I am nothing if not immoderate in my devotion to music in general (and this band in particular).
I had seen Shearwater play tons of shows before, some with the current line-up, many more with the former, but these were easily the best. The line-up that singer Jonathan Meiburg has brought together this year is definitely more rock than previous evolutions of the band, and they are, in a word, phenomenal. Drummer Danny Reisch, bassist Christiaan Mader, and multi-instrumentalists Mitch Billeaud and Lucas Oswald laid down such a storm of sound every night that I would've sworn I could feel it at a cellular level, maybe even a molecular one. But always at the fore was Meiburg's inexorable voice, at turns surging through and soaring above it all. Even though the setlist didn't vary much (each night Meiburg played a different song solo at the beginning of the encore), I never got tired of hearing any of the songs. Everything from Animal Joy, a handful of older tunes, and one absolutely brilliant REM cover killed me every single time. As much as I loved the etherealness of earlier Shearwater records and shows, I am utterly enamored with this more visceral incarnation. It's the difference between sitting on the shore watching the tide come in and running out into the water to feel the waves crash against your chest. In January. 
And as if Shearwater weren't enough on their own, Husky and Grant Olsen (of Gold Leaves) opened almost every show and destroyed me a little bit more each night. Both Gold Leaves' The Ornament and Husky's Forever So ended up on my iPod before the week was out.
The whirlwind took me from the tour's second night in San Diego, where I braved the ComiCon crowds to catch the band at a dive-y place called the Soda Bar; to a night at the Echo -- probably the best show I've ever seen them play in Los Angeles -- to the show at Bottom of the Hill a couple of nights later (which can only be described as downright magical), where I found myself thinking, "This is it, THIS is how it's supposed to be. It's all happening!" I have never been so exultant after show, so euphoric, so in need of whiskey.