Tonight in Seattle:  

Indie Pop

Recommended Show: The Sounds at Neumos {3/19}

You guys! One of my favorite Swedish Bands, The Sounds, are coming to Seattle soon!!!

This fun indie rock band has had my attention since their 2003 debut album, Living in America, and 10 years later, they’re still making me “Shake Shake Shake” with their newest release, Weekend. And as if their awesome blend of rock, new wave, and pop wasn’t enough to make me love them, lead singer Maja Ivarsson also participated in a hilarious song and video for Snakes on a Plane … which still makes me laugh every single time I watch it.

They’re playing Neumos on Wednesday, March 19 with LA-pop band Blondfire, and I’m betting this will be one of the only shows in Seattle where the whole room will be dancing (For real. EVERYONE will dance. They won't have any other choice). Come with me and dust off your best moves!!



{The Sounds with Blondfire | Wednesday, 3/19 | Neumos | $20 advance | Doors at 7 | all ages}

Imaginary Keenan's navel-gazing 2013 wrap-up

2013 was one of the most challenging years of my adult life. I tackled a ridiculous amount of life and ALL CAPS FEELINGS all at once but somehow came out alive and mostly unscathed thanks to finally learning how to take care of myself. 2013 found me taking solace in music much more than the few years preceding it, mostly because I needed it. 2013 was the year of obsessive repeats and the return of music as therapy to my life. Here are a few things that really shook me to the core and pulled me through even the darkest days.

Fortunately, this year featured new releases by two of my all-time (and seriously imaginary) favorites, BOAT and Tullycraft. I spent the first quarter of the year listening to both on repeat, generally in succession. I owe my sanity in the first few months at a brutal corporate job I have since (thankfully) left mostly to these two records.

BOAT's Pretend to Be Brave is a beautiful, slow burning record. My husband and I have a joke about BOAT songs - "My favorite BOAT song is the one about overcoming difficulties and becoming a better person" {cue rim shot} and that couldn't have been more true on the latest effort nearly a decade into their career. But like with every BOAT record, the songwriting becomes more focused, more honest and the hooks become even stronger. The secret weapon on this record is the absolutely perfect backing vocal performance provided by Portland's Shelley Short, adding just the right amount of sparkle. My only disappointment was that BOAT didn't play more shows in 2013. Hopefully this is something they'll correct in the new year. Please enjoy the lead single, "Hating the Criminal".

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Latest comment by: Diana Wegener: "Very rocking and dashing as well. I like you guys, I like the way you present your news. Keep us rocking in 2014! In It Pokies "

Recommended Listening: Running in Water by The Broadcast Debut

If I was a total freak, I'd have the exact number of days, hours, and minutes that I've been waiting for this album to come out. But, even though I'm an enthusiastic fan (to the point where I stalked members Craig Cook and Aaron Brown until they, finally defeated, admitted we were besties), I didn't take it quite as far as that. 

Anyway! Moving on; I first heard The Broadcast Debut WAYYYYY back in like, 2005, when they played a few shows I was lucky enough to be at, and released the EP A Means for Social Commentary, which I immediately LOVED LOVED LOVED.

And then, they were working on the second album. FOREVER. And then a bunch of different things happened, and Craig ended up across the world in another country and I cried myself to sleep every night thinking there'd never be another release from these guys. 

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Latest comment by: Raymond: "How did I miss this band? I love the rock in Lights on a Street and I agree with previous posts about Martha. "

A happy frenzy of Tullycraft, in video form

Ok, so there's a lot of Tullycraft stuff going on… but would you expect any less than a feverish (but happy) frenzy when one of our favorite imaginary bands releases a new album after six years of silence?

We're pretty sure you've read the imaginary record review of their new album, Lost in Light Rotation (Magic Marker Records / Fortuna Pop) and noticed that Allmusic.com just posted a loving review of the album.  And, you've surely marked your calendar for the Tullycraft vs BOAT DJ gig at Saint John's in Captiol Hill tonight (4/25), right?

But, have you seen their new video for "Dig Up the Graves?" It's a scrapbook of fun, and mayhem, and cute facial expressions. Basically, if you love America and a good time, you'll dig this video.



And while we're here, here's the video for the first single from the album - it's a little more retro.  Yay old-timey radios!

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Tullycraft — Lost in Light Rotation

Tullycraft's first single came out when I was fifteen. Played heavily on WPRB Princeton, "Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid To Know About" was the start of MY long and damning relationship with indie pop. Yet, like the boy in that 1995 single, Tullycraft has made me worry I was too stupid to know about the bands they were singing about. My love for them has been a combination of sheer adoration and joy coupled with a nervousness that I was missing the joke -- maybe I too, in the words of the album's title track "Lost in Light Rotation," never took the time to learn the slang that we speak or the slogans on the t-shirts. Yet when the message is all wrapped up in harmonies and power chords, I forget my fear for love of bouncing and singing along.

Tullycraft’s vision of twee was something both sweet and cynical, a cuteness belied with dirty jokes, and both obscure references and snide comments about other bands. Don’t you dare try to tell me they’re all about ukuleles and bunny rabbits and cuddly wuddly love songs! The hearts in their songs are often broken, the best times have already past, and computers don’t even exist as a way to keep in touch with friends.

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Lost in the Stacks: 2012 music I’m getting around to now, pt. II

Part 2 of things I missed listening to last year, but have caught my interest. You can find Part 1 here

Ninja Turtle Ninja Tiger Ninja Turtle Ninja TigerI’ll Find You In Colors
Conspiracy Theory Music

Yeah, I know it’s a super silly name, but this Portland band is bringing the shiny electro-synth-pop HARD. It’s bouncy and awesome and I really, really wanna see ‘em live, because I bet it’s just like the best dance party I ever went to in the 90s: one that’s sweaty and packed and screaming and leaves you exhausted.

I can’t quite make out who the lead singer is from their web site or the disc (it’s either Dustin Brown, Jon West, Steven Yautz, or James London—and if I had to guess just form the photo, it’s Yautz), but whoever it is has a great, deep voice that meshes well with the lighter tone of the music. When I need a break and wanna unwind, I crank this up to 11 and dance it out.

Standouts:
Mr. Keown, This City’s Falling
Ride
The Way Out

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Lost in the Stacks: 2012 music I’m getting around to now, pt. I

What. More things from 2012? Haven’t you gotten around to the 2013 stacks? Why yes, yes I have—I just haven’t had proper time to listen to them, while this batch of things has been drifting around in my iTunes playlist for awhile and has gotten plenty of spin time.

Dear bands, please accept my apologies for not sharing the love sooner.

Rec Center Tin Year Rec CenterTin Year
New Granada Records

The second I popped this CD in, I was entranced by songstress Susie Ulrey’s tinkling voice. Michael Waksman also picks up lead vocals on a few tunes, harmonizing beautifully with Susie. The album has an easy, retro-tinged indie pop sound, punctuated by great vocals and relatable heartbreak-y lyrics. I. like.

I’m not quite hip enough to know about the bands all the players were in before/are still in now (The Maccabees, Pohgoh, Zillionaire, Murder Suicide Pact, Candy Bars), but whatever brought them together here WORKS and I hope Rec Center stays around for a long time.

Standouts:
Soft Pursuit
Take it Back
Monster in Your Heart

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "You're more than welcome! Thanks for sending it to us. "

Imaginary Liz's Best of 2013 Countdown: Tullycraft

Tullycraft - Lost in Light Rotation It's no secret I have an inside scoop on what goes on in the Tullycraft camp, so I've actually have heard this whole album. A hundred times. Because I just can't stop listening to it.

I was a fan long before I infiltrated their compound, so it's been extra hard to keep from quoting lines and exclaiming about how much I love it. But now that cover art is finalized and a release date has been set, I CAN!

The new album, Lost in Light Rotation, will strike a chord with newbies and longtime loves alike. This time around, Tullycraft has given us an album that is more concise and concentrated with relentless indie-pop guitar and vocal twists that will make you spin on the dancefloor until you drop. 

The result is a set of songs that have the hutzpah of "Our Days in Kansas," the demureness of "DIY Queen," a touch of the electro-craft of "We know You're Cute You Told Us," lo-fi rockeries of "Josie," and that doesn't even include a descriptor for the recently released single, "Lost in Light Rotation" {on 7" vinyl on Magic Marker (US) / Fortuna Pop (Europe)} which you can highly rotate on soundcloud.  There's a video for this single making the rounds (and posted below) and there's an added bonus: the 7" includes an exclusive b-side - a cover of Yazoo’s "Bad Connection."

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Latest comment by: Steve Robinson: "So jealous that you have such an in to the band. I bought the limited cassette, but can't seem to find the vinyl for sale on Magic Marker's website. Fingers crossed Tullycraft will play a show soon (when I'm not out of town)!"

Imaginary Liz's Best of 2013 Countdown: BOAT

BOAT - Pretend to be BraveThe Grammys officially closed the book on 2012 on Sunday night.  And, with SXSW nearly here and the Sasquatch line-up already announced, I think it's safe to share my very likely possibly concrete list of my favorite albums of 2013even though I haven't heard any of them yet.  There is no better reason to track them down as soon as I can than naming them as favorites of the year, right?  

The thing is, I know and love all these bands to near tattooing-their-name-on-my-arm proportions. So, the fact that they are ALL releasing albums (or in my heart I presume that they are) in the next few months is going to make this year one of the most magical ever (!) and has made putting my end of year list together a snap.  Such a snap, I'm proclaiming them as fantastically brilliant albums in February! Starting with this post, I'll countdown all 10 (very likely) super amazing radtastic albums.  Is there any better band to begin with than with BOAT?

No one knows how to build up to a record release date better than BOAT.  For the past month or so, BOAT has shared some tracks from a special cassette tape gift available to the first 100 folks who pre-order their album, Pretend to be Brave.  The cassette, titled Pretend to be BOAT (listen), features various other bands covering tracks from Pretend to be Brave.  For that alone I give a hearty hat tip to BOAT for their major project management skills. So far they've featured covers by Fishboy, Throw Me From the Statue and John Roderick, and for that I give a hearty hat tip for their amazing good taste in friends. 

As far as hearing BOAT's versions of the songs, they've posted a couple on soundcloud and they've shared some of the songs in their late 2012 live sets (notably in a stripped down setting last year at our Imaginary Ice Cream Party)… and I love them all.  Of course I pre-ordered the album on Magic Marker Records website {I *must* have that ltd. ed cassette!} and the confirmation email said the album is due to ship on March 5, 2013 with an in-stores release date of March 12, 2013.  BOAT is celebrating the album release with a show on Friday, March 2nd at Barboza. I bet they'll have copies of the album for sale there for those of us that just can't wait for a package in the mail!

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Creating an EP in 13 hours: Why Amber Valentine is Very Imaginary

Music has probably saved all of us at least a few times during our lives, but what if diving into the process of creating an album really had a huge impact on your mental health?

I’ve been virtual friends with the fantastic Amber Valentine for a while, and heartily applauded her courage for coming forward and writing honestly about her recent struggles with anorexia and anxiety, and really just admiring this lovely, beautiful girl for fighting and finding ways to make her life better.

Out of her struggles, Amber Valentine’s Shriveled Heart & The Skeletons Left Behind came about with an EP full of songs inspired by The Wizard of Oz. She calls it “morbid fairy tale pop” – and I couldn’t agree more: each piece is a haunting melody featuring Amber’s child-like sing-songy voice. And the video she made (that I've posted above) explaining the process is a great, inspiring, honest watch. 

I had a chance to interview Amber about why she decided to create an EP in 13 hours by herself, what it means to her, and what’s next.

TIG: Can you talk a little bit more about what pushed you to create an EP of songs?

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Latest comment by: Amber Valentine: "Omg! Amie, thank you so much for the kind, kind words! "