Tonight in Seattle:  

Northwest Bands

The best of last winter: More Than Shapes

Remember last winter, when John Roderick played at a house show in Ballard, and how it was pretty much the best thing ever?

Yep.

In case you missed all those great videos the first time, here's a recap:

and the rest are on the Dorsia Films site here.

Happy Friday!

Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

It *WAS* the best thing ever!!!

"

Imaginary Watch This: A Breakthrough in Field Studies' "Waves on the Ocean"

My talented friend Jon Wooster keeps breaking my heart (but in all the good ways) with his new musical adventures, and one of the adventures I'm loving the most is A Breakthrough in Field Studies, who released this video for "Waves on the Ocean" and a full-length LP last year ... (I am just fucking lame and haven't remembered to post it until now).

Anyway! Yeah. ABiFS is rocking my knee-socks off with this power poppy tune, and I definitely need to get my butt out to see them live soon! Have you guys seen 'em? I think they're fantastic. 

{See A Breakthrough in Field Studies play at The Tractor Tavern on Tues, Jan 22 w/Daughters of the Dead Sea, The Steveadore, and Mannequin BBQ for only $6!! Doors @8pm. 21+} 

Crushing on the internet this week with Slang, Telekinesis

One of my hands-down favorite things of 2012 that I completely forgot to mention in my year-end list (I knew there'd be something) was / is Slang. The fact that Slang exists / is happening, seeing Slang open up for Lemolo at the Triple Door during City Arts Fest, learning about Slang -- all of it. (YOU GUYS. SLANG. QUADRUPLE UNDERLINE.) It was the one set all year that totally took me by surprise, that had me squee-ing in my seat the entire time and tweeting in all-caps for hours afterward.

If you haven't caught 'em yet: simply put, they're the best fucking cover band that ever was. Technically, Slang is Drew Grow (of DG & The Pastors Wives fame) and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, Wild Flag) shredding away, singing their hearts out with this imperfectly perfect vibe. They've got a glorious habit of completely destroying choice selections you know and love, breaking your heart with pure delight as each line goes by. And they put out this sweet ditty of a video this week (above) that makes my insides skip a beat remembering just how rad the live shows are.

Slang for President. Slang At Every God Damn Festival in 2013. (Seriously!) Friend them on Facebook (how do they not have 19,000 friends?) and then make sure you get to the next show you catch wind of. Looks like there's one coming up, an opening set on the 15th of this month at Valentines. Portland friends, get there!

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What are YOU doing New Year's Eve? {TONIGHT!}

There's plenty to choose from on Monday night, between all the shows, dance parties, and fancy end-of-year suppers -- but no matter what you think you have planned for New Year's Eve, we strongly suggest that those of you planning to be in the Seattle area alter your agenda to include a stop at The Showbox.

Pickwick, your favorite local alt.freaksoul sextet, will be taking one of our favorite stages in town with Radiation City and Tomten, with doors at 8 and advance tickets at a mere $21.50 (an incredible bargian for a holiday night celebration, if you've been poking around at some other show prices in town).

The night is 21+ and tickets are going fast, so make sure you pop on over here to pick up a pair or two and secure your place at the last best party of the year.

Happy almost-2013!

Looking back at the best of 2012

As is the case for years past, best of 2012 lists for this Imaginary Girl are rarely about standard operating procedure -- ranking the best X number of albums in specific order, with exacting reason, is just not my jam. Taking the time at the end of the year to look back at how it all went down is more of an overarching retrospective for me: it's about the shows, the photos, the moments, and the tracks that made up how it all looked and felt, and how I'll remember it for years to come. Sort of like an A/V mixtape that I'll put on the shelf with this year's label on it.

With that said, here's what stood out for me for the past eleven-plus months, with 'best' being a relative term, of course:

{Nada Surf at the Tractor / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Nada Surf at The Tractor by Victoria VanBruinisse

Best show: tie, Nada Surf at the Tractor and the first night of Jeff Mangum at the Moore

Even if either night of the Jeff Mangum show at the Moore back in April medium-sucked, it would probably go down in the year's best-ofs anyway -- simply because of the fact that it's Jeff Motherfucking Mangum and Holy Shit, Dude Did A Tour That We Never Thought We'd See. But as anyone who went knows, neither night even came close to medium-suck: I did prefer night one to night two, but both performances were staggeringly impressive and downright incredible to witness. Plenty of bands put on plenty of good shows in 2012, but when I reflect on things I loved about this year, that first night absolutely takes the cake -- it managed to transcend from Super Incredible Performance to bordering on Show-Related Out-Of-Body Experience.

So how could something like a Jeff Mangum show tie with a Nada Surf performance, you ask? I know. I've been asking myself the same thing and it just... does. Nada Surf graced us with a few performances this year, and it's likely that most folks went to the show at the Neptune in March -- but a few hundred of us were lucky enough to get tickets for the February show at the Tractor, where the band destroyed a sold-out room with one of the tightest four-piece performances I can recall in semi-recent history. For me, it ranked up there with some of my favorite Wrens shows, and knowing my allegiance to the Wrens as you do, you know that's a pretty big statement for me to make. Perhaps it was the recent obsession I'd had with listening to "When I Was Young" and the impeccable timing of the show being a few weeks into said obsession, or maybe it was just something in the air that night -- but whatever it was, the combination of all of it left a wonderful sting of a mark.

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Come sit on Santa Roderick's lap TONIGHT! {12/21}

Come on down to Chop Suey tonight and help us celebrate the last event of our tenth year anniversary! 2012 has been a very good year, so let's get together and see her out right: with a bunch of great bands and a ride on Santa Roderick's lap. We'll have the lovely and talented John E. Hollingsworth on hand to take your photo!

Seriously, you guys. This could be you:

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Countdown to the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular: Pablo Trucker (!)

I've loved Pablo Trucker just about as long as I've been in Seattle. Literally.

Picture it: Capitol Hill, 2008. It's summertime. I've got a habit of hiding out at the back bar in Victrola during the morning, often before I head in to work at my temp agency gig. Andrew Rudd, drummer and vocalist for the band, is my faithful barista, always taking a moment to chat with me while he crafted my morning brew. One day, our conversation turns to an intriguing red flyer on the front of the espresso machine. Pablo Trucker, it claims, playing one night of a Jack Wilson and the Wife Stealers residency at The Sunset. "You should come," Andrew says to me, over the whirr of the grinders. Having never heard of the band, knowing nothing of the sound, I tell him I'll be there with bells on.

And such was my introduction to Pablo Trucker. I made my way down to Ballard that fateful Monday night, rife with apology since it was getting late, and I wasn't sure if I'd make it through the whole show. Well, I wound up fighting those dayjob schoolnight blues, staying on for the set, and the mighty Pablo Trucker melted my face off with awesome. Never in my life had I seen and heard so much coming out of two people -- here's a clip from my first ever imaginary writeup:

I feel like I should have worn more layers, or prepared somehow otherwise, for what wound up transpiring. One guitar. One drumkit. Two voices, red spotlights, and enough ache to last all of us well into next year sometime. Beyond that, I don't even have any words for it, except go buy the album the minute it comes out, and go see them live next time you have the chance. Seriously. They're my new favorite everything. 

Fast forwarding to this past fall: when I checked in with Andrew to see if he and Brian Wagner were up for playing our holiday show, I knew it was a shot in the dark. You see, the Pablo Trucker has been a bit dormant as of late -- Kory surfaced in Pickwick, Andrew and Brian haven't done m/any shows out -- a few of us had begun to wonder if Pablo Trucker was no more. Friends would tweet about how incredible a reunion would be, but no plans were laid out for a show anytime soon. And then, Andrew responded to my email with an enthusiastic "Count us in!"

Well, we've been party plannign ever since, and now that we're a day out from our Imaginary Holiday Spectacular {do you have your tickets yet??}, we found a few minutes in the happy holiday mayhem this week to catch up with Andrew about life since then, what's going on with the band these days, and more.

TIG: So, what have you and Brian been up to? We haven't heard much from the Pablo Trucker camp since that Christmas album you did in 2010.

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Countdown to the Imaginary Spectacular: Lesli Wood (of The Redwood Plan)

It’s probably impossible that you haven’t heard Lesli Wood sing, either from her awesome Ms. Led days, or covering songs for Jenny George’s annual Dancing on the Valentine benefit, or fronting her kick-ass band The Redwood Plan.

It also goes without saying that the imaginary girls LOVE the heck out of Ms. Wood, and are beyond thrilled that she’s agreed to sing at our Imaginary Holiday Spectacular this Friday! (that’s the 21st, people! SO CLOSE!) Every time she takes the stage, I’m personally blown away by her powerhouse vocals and amazing presence. Hell, sometimes when I see her out and about in Seattle I’m too awe-struck to say “Hi” because I’m rendered unable by my starstruck fandom.

I can’t imagine anyone NOT loving Lesli Wood, and I’m so looking forward to seeing her play on Friday. You’re coming too, right?

Head on over to the StrangerTickets site to grab some $10 tix before they sell out, because we really really really really want you to be there to celebrate the holidays with us!

Photo by Victoria VanBruinisse. 

Countdown to the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular: Cristina Bautista and Leif Anders

Happy Friday! You know what that means, right? Well, besides the end of the work week, of course, it means that a mere seven days from now, we'll be gearing up for the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular at Chop Suey, full of friends and good cheer. On Monday we told you a little bit more about show openers Brite Lines and our pal Chris Otepka, and today we'd like to get into our middle-set stars, Cristina Bautista and Leif Anders.

{Cristina Bautista / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

We've loved Cristina B. oh-so-muchly for as long as we can remember, from her time in Connecticut Four to her days as a member of Visqueen {photo above from Visqueen's Last Show at the Neptune, RIP} to her much-loved recent excursions as a solo artist. If you only know Cristina in one of her previous incarnations, take a trip on over to her website to get a sample of her sound. It's sweetly upbeat without sounding saccharine, clean and gritty alt.pop without the pomp and circumstance, all while remaining decidedly Pacific Northwest: Gold Parts, specifically, is a soundtrack for the days when you need to kick ass (or be kicked in the ass) -- and fills those train-out-the-window movie-scene grey-day quotas we need filled around here in the wintertime too. [Editor's note: Am I the only one who thinks "Long Divisions" should be synced up with some kind of tormented day-starting modern-day Angela Chase scene in whatever the 2012 My So-Called Life equivalent is? I can't be!] 

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Countdown to the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular: Chris Otepka and Brite Lines

Happy Monday, imaginary friends! We're here bright and early this morning to start the week off right: there's just two weeks until our annual Holiday Spectacular {taking place on Friday, December 21st at Chop Suey}, and that gives us just enough time to get you as excited about the bands taking the stage as we are. Off we go!

{Chris Otepka / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

First up, a familiar face: Chris Otepka of The Heligoats. If you think you recognize Chris from last year's party, you're right -- we adore him so much, we had to have him come and play for us again this year! We've waxed on and on about all the things we love about Chris, from his quirky songwriting perspective to his charming, bard-like delivery. If you know his sound, you know why we're so excited to have him back for this year's lineup -- and if you don't, check out some of his internet on his Facebook page, and then come to the show early and catch some of his beautiful deliriousness for yourself. Chris will be taking the stage second, after our show openers Brite Lines

{Superfans, take note: The Heligoats have a new album in the works! It will be available in February, so keep your eyes here for release details and supporting tour dates.} 

Brite Lines is fronted by our pal Zach Gore, and even in the band's simplicity, they span such a wide array of adjective from song to song (as evidenced on this year's EP Make Shift) that they're hard to sum up in a few short sentences. The music is earnest, rooted in New America; part haunted songwriter; broken-hearted and hopeful, with an all-encompassing catchy post-indie rock folk vibe. Somewhere between the pain of breaking up with your last girlfriend and the day that the sun finally shines through the clouds on your face lies your allegiance to this band. 

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