Tonight in Seattle:  


Imaginary Interview: Skeletons with Flesh on Them... playing the Holiday Spectacular 2009

Skeletons with Flesh on Them

We're counting down to the big huge wonderful Imaginary Winter Holiday Spectacular at Chop Suey on December 23rd {at which we'd be sincerely honored tol see your fine booty at}!

We are so delighted to have Seattle band Skeletons with Flesh on Them on the evening's bill with The Special Places, The Nightgowns, Wallpaper, and The Redwood Plan. On their 2009 album, All the other Animals, they've combined straightforward sweet pop guitar and songs vultures and lust that keep us on our toes and giddy.

I recently chatted with Scott of SwFoT about where that graphic band name came from and find out if they really are as nice as their songs suggest...



Parenthetical Girls talk about *The Scottish Play*

Zac Pennington of the Parenthetical Girls recently sent downloads of his band's absolutely delightful "mini-LP" adapting Scottish poet Ivor Cutler's imagery to their idyllic blend of artful electro-pop. I fell madly in love with the eight song cycle, and begged Pennington to answer some questions as he takes in the Old World on the eve of the Parenthetical Girls' holiday seven inch announcement and the limited availability of The Scottish Play


Latest comment by: Amie Simon: "Interesting! This caught my eye because of the photograph, which looks exactly like the cover of A Tale of Two Sisters: I wonder what the story is there... "

Imaginary Interview: David Schmader, curator and host of Almost Human: Madonna on Film

Schmader on Madonna

David Schmader is Seattle's king of clever pop culture commentary. Most Seattle-ites probably know him from his Stranger duties {where he's been a beloved associate editor and columnist since 1998} or from his stints around town hosting and providing commentary for the 1995 cult film Showgirls, a film for which Schmader's commentary can be found in the V.I.P. Edition of the Showgirls DVD.

He also has performed a number of solo monologues shows  on both the local an national stages to deserved critical acclaims {his most recent one man play, Straight, was brilliant!}. You can imagine how honored we are to have him hosting the upcoming Imaginary Winter Holiday Spectacular {December 23rd} or excited to seehis next Showgirls showing {December 24 at the Triple Door}.

But before all that, we get to see him every Monday (starting tonight!) for the next five weeks  (from Dec 7-Jan 4) at the Central Cinema as he curates and hosts Almost Human: Madonna on Film / Exploring How the World’s Greatest Pop Star Became the World’s Worst Actress.


They Live! and the bright future of Seattle hip hop

Photo by Ellie Lonardo

The last time I saw They Live! perform was at the Showbox and they were opening for Ghostface Killah, the seemingly popular Wu-Tang Clan emcee on a Friday night. The ticket sales were way below expectations and the large Showbox seemed spacious and vacant. The first two groups to take the stage did little to engage the crowd and the audience probably wouldn’t have cared anyway as neither of those groups featured members of the Wu-Tang Clan. When They Live!, the local hip hop crew of Gatsby and Bruce Illest, took the stage, they came out with all guns firing and quickly turned the show around and suddenly everyone in the crowd was enjoying the time, not killing it and waiting for the headliner. Although he wasn’t there at that particular show, I believe I understood what local music journalist (and my friend) Travis Hay meant when he wrote, “there is nothing happening in Seattle right now that can match They Live!'s energy, stage presence and rapping skills.”

They Live! take their name from a 1988 John Carpenter sci-fi film that starred Keith David and pro wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and has become a cult classic. Gatsby is Larry Mizell, Jr., known for being in the popular group Cancer Rising, as well as a writer at The Stranger (whose weekly column “My Philosophy” is a must-read if you want to follow the flourishing local hip hop scene in as-close-to-real-time as you'll ever get) and now DJ on KEXP, hosting the weekly hip hop show “Street Sounds” (on Sundays from 6-9pm). His partner is djblesOne, who is a member of the b-boy crew Massive Monkeys and goes by Bruce Illest. They’ve become one of the standout groups in 2009 in a scene that has blown up and has limitless potential.


Latest comment by: John in Ballard: "I might be one of those people that Chris' Estey is talking about with hip-hop not necessarily being one of my "first couple of beloved genre's", but after hearing them do a KEXP in-studio and then seeing them perform at the Fremont Oktoberfest not long after ...

Annie: pop's most welcome comeback

Photo by Nina Merikallio

It’s been five years between LPs for Norwegian pop star Annie, who just released her highly-anticipated album Don’t Stop earlier this month. Annie, or Anne Lilia Berge Strand as it likely says on her photo ID, has finally released a successor to her brilliant debut album. It’s a collection of insanely catchy pop songs made with some of Europe’s best producers, including Richard X (who worked with Annie on her debut, as well), Paul Epworth, Timo Kaukolampi and Xenomania, who are arguably the hottest songwriting and production team in Europe right now.

Her first album was 2004’s Anniemal, released with considerable buzz from online music writers floating around it. The (mostly) indie rock taste-making website Pitchfork labeled her fantastic single “Heartbeat” as the best of 2004, besting Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, amongst others - yes, 2004 was a very good year for pop. Although there was a consider time between Anniemal and Don’t Stop, Annie hasn’t been completely silent between ’04 and ’09, releasing a handful of singles, including “Crush”, “Anthonio”, “I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me” and “Two of Hearts”, a cover of the 1980s Stacy Q hit. She also released a DJ Kicks mix album with two original songs in 2005 and moved from Bergen, Norway to Berlin. Going forward to 2009, the road to getting Don’t Stop in record stores and on iPods was a bumpy one, to say the least.


Latest comment by: Amie Simon: "Dude. She covered Stacy Q? HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? :) Awesome write-up, Chris!"

Imaginary Interview: Japandroids


If you are looking for a band that embodies the essence of every completely generic moment in high school that felt momentous because of a song (and i know you are), but you're too old to believe in the importance of inconsequential instants (which i hope you're not), then the Vancouver based duo Japandroids are for you. Dave Prowse and Brian King blend together noisy yet melodic guitar and pulsing drums to match the boiling blood of teenagers in grown-up lives. Their shared screaming duties deliver angst to even their most thoughtful lyrics, layering meaning in that way in which everything meant too much when you were younger. Go ahead, read this interview and give your Tuesday a heavy injection of the way things used to feel when Japandroids play Chop Suey on the 1st of December.


The Raveonettes: in and out of control in their lustful world

For the better part of this decade, The Raveonettes have projected a cool, sexy black and white style that has meshed perfectly with their music. “Cool as ice cream” is a lyric from “Bang!” a song on the latest Raveonettes album, In and Out of Control (Vice), and it sums up their aesthetic and music nicely: sugary pop music with a rougher component. As we were told by Andre 3000 a few years ago, being ice cold is cooler than being cool. In 2009, The Raveonettes are still cool as ice cream and have plenty of style to burn, but now they’re asking what that means.


Anjulie: a songwriter ready for her close-up

Photo by Sarah Fletcher

{Anjulie plays at Showbox Sodo on Monday, November 16 with Raphael Saadiq and Melanie Fiona.}

Fans of pop music know this: the first time you hear a great and catchy song, one that has a big hook, it will grab you immediately and stick and you’ll want to hear it again and again. When you hear a song like that, you’ll be thanking whoever invented the repeat buttons on CD players or iPods. Such was the case the first time I heard a song called “Boom”.


Imaginary Interview: The Fresh and Onlys

08-Fresh & Onlys-02

During the Scion Garage Festival in Portland over this weekend I caught up with front man Tim Cohen and Guitarist Wymond Miles of San Francisco's Fresh and Onlys to chat about their prolific output (they started playing together in 2008 and have two albums, two 7 inch releases and two limited release cassettes released already, with another album to come out early next year), Tim Cohen's solo project, and what makes their combination of Calvin Johnson-esque vocals and 60's-infused riffs so dynamic.


Imaginary Interview: Jemina Pearl

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the Nashville punk band Be Your Own Pet was the only band I listened to in 2008 – the log from iTunes for what’s played on my iPod confirm they were certainly the band I listened to the most last year. Their album, Get Awkward, was a blast of youthful energy from a band that sounded like they were getting in trouble when they weren’t rocking. The best part of the band, though, was their lead singer Jemina Pearl, who is every bit the badass Avril Lavigne pretends to be.

Be Your Own Pet broke up in the summer of 2008 and Pearl and BYOP guitarist John Eatherly moved to New York and recorded a fantastic and edgy pop record called Break it Up, which was just released last week. The album boasts an impressive roster of artists with appearances by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth (who has long been a supporter of BYOP) and Iggy Pop and was produced by Dave Sitek, an in-demand producer and member of TV on the Radio.

Jemina Pearl is currently touring the US while opening for Canadian indie rock band Islands. This tour includes a stop at Chop Suey on Monday, October 19. I spoke with Pearl by phone about a week into the tour and thought she was very friendly and easy to talk to.


Latest comment by: Anonymous: "did abby read the interview?"