Tonight in Seattle:  

Recommended shows

Why Pickathon is a festival you shouldn't miss this year {8/2 - 8/4}

{Langhorne Slim / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Langhorne Slim at Pickathon 2012

***UPDATE: Tickets are still available for Pickathon {this weekend!}***

As most of the music industry flocks to Austin, Texas this week each March for South By Southwest, I find myself considering the often-unwieldy animal of festival atmospheres: why some are great, why some are terrible; in the case of the latter, why we attend them regardless. It doesn't really seem fair to put them all up on the chopping block against each other -- the conference-centered SxSW and CMJ, for example (daytime panels embedded within a town / city-wide sprawl of showcases and performances), can't exactly go apples-to-apples with Sasquatch! or Austin City Limits (multiple stages in a contained, open area). But whether it's a festival for the ages or one that's still wet behind the ears (like this year's Timber!), a few threads run common between them: as an attendee, we're going to be elbow-to-elbow with several thousand people experiencing varying levels of intoxication, sometimes with little reprieve from the sun, with long lines for the restrooms and either 'rough' or expensive, off-site accomodations.

So why do we do it? Especially here in Seattle, where we're fortunate enough to have bands performing every night of the week, our calendars often bursting at the seams? Well, if you're anything like me, the answer is simple: we do it for the music. We do it for the one-of-a-kind experience, we do it to see a bunch of our favorite performers centered in one spot -- and we do it because a good lineup trumps every single one of those sweaty, drunk bodies standing between us and our collective moment of band-umami. It's really not fair to say who does this best or worst -- I've had equal moments of near-nirvana seeing the Wrens at the Mercury Lounge in 2005 as I have in a throng of several thousand people watching Elbow at ACL a few years back -- but it's safe to say that the one place I've experienced the highest levels of awesome with the lowest levels of bullshit is at the Northwest's very own Pickathon.

{Pickathon 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Last year's Pickathon was my first, and while it's pretty specifically curated (most bands centering around roots music, be it new-roots or indie-roots of Roots-roots), it was by far my favorite of all the festivals I'd attended in 2012 and years previous. It was by no means banjos-only -- the bands ranged from Neko Case and Langhorne Slim to THEESatisfaction and Thee Oh Sees, just to call out a few -- yet if you did see or hear a banjo, it was totally approriate and in context, and not showing up attached to some porkpie-hat wearing kid as an interesting prop. This year's lineup promises more of the same wide spectrum, with headliners like Feist and Andrew Bird, along with Sharon van Etten, Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside, Howe Gelb, and Foxygen {full lineup here} slated to take the stages. Thoughtful lineup aside for a moment, though, there are a lot of factors that make Pickathon worthy of consideration for your live music budget expenditures for 2013.

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Latest comment by: imaginary victoria: "

hey anonymous, thanks for the thoughts. I know some of the pickathon organizers personally and can say truthfully that this is not a 'money disease' issue so much as it is one of sustainability. there's about a 35% bump in costs, yes, one ...

Block Party alternative: Timber! {July 26 & 27}

If you're itching to get out of town this weekend, consider this: Timber! is a brand-new outdoor music festival taking place this year in good ol' Carnation, WA, this Friday and Saturday {July 26th - 27th}. Set in the serene backdrop of Tolt-Macdonald Park, and brought to you by the same people that organize Doe Bay each year -- Artist Home Presents -- Timber! has quite the respectable lineup for a first-year fest, providing a great alternative to the hustle and bustle that our friends at the Capitol Hill Block Party bring to the Hill each summer.

Tickets are still available {$45.00 for the weekend, with various camping options}, and are well-priced considering you'll be spending two days with the likes of imaginary favorites Fruit Bats, Quasi, Lemolo, Zoe Muth, Jenn Ghetto, Pablo Trucker, and about a dozen other local all-stars.

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A new Exohxo EP... and a nifty online mixer

Exohxo ROCK! Try the online mixer

One of our favorite Seattle bands is in the throes of releasing their new EP, Stories and Fictions. The 7 songs (plus one demo) are cheerful and comforting, sweetened with pop and an "Untitled Song About Cats." They aren't intimidated by much. They lay orchestra strings along side punk punches to craft songs that are both distinguished and addictive.

The EP will hit store shelves on July 30, but you can listen to it (on repeat) on the Exohxo website right now. "Sunshine All Around" is my favorite. It's a great summer anthem. "Crushed Ice," which kicks off the EP, solidifies their orchestral pop tag with flowing waves of symphonic bliss.

Needless to say, we are counting down to their album release show at the Columbia City Theater on August 1, 2013 with Cloud Person and Gibraltar.

And now, they are letting you try your hand at mixing their songs. The smarties in the Exohxo camp have put together an online mixer for folks to create their own custom remixes of the aforementioned cats song. It's like all the fun of the EMP Sound Lab without the long lines at the remix board. Want to cut out those pesky keys and drums? You can! Or make it high on the strings and box tip! You can morph it however you want!

Go try it out

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Recommended show: Jon Auer at the Volterra Drawing Room {Fri 7/26} - limited tickets left!

Jon Auer at the Volterra Drawing RoomHELLO POSIES FANS! I know you're out there. And I know you'll be excited to know (if you don't already) that Jon Auer will be back in Seattle performing a one night only show in Ballard at The Volterra Drawing Room next Friday, 7/26

For $23 (OH HO HO) you can get GA tickets, and for $100, you can get early VIP access to meet & greet Jon, partake of hosted wine and light appetizers, AND GET reserved seating! Plus, Mr. Auer will play one song of your choice during his set. There will also be a cash bar for the cocktail lovers. 

Volterra's lovely owner, Michelle Q.,  just let me know that there are only 15 tickets left for this amazing event! And amazing, it is. I was there last time, and the setting is intimate and cozy and so much fun. Jon is a fantastic performer, and is always interacting with the crowd and playing fan favorites. It's a perfect way to spend your evening, and I highly recommend you buy tickets ASAP.

{One Night Only: An Intimate Evening with Jon Auer | Volterra Drawing Room | Friday, 7/26 | 7:30pm Doors (VIP will be let in at 7pm), 8pm Showtime} 

Latest comment by: Ruth Carter: "It's a perfect way to spend your evening, and I highly recommend you buy tickets as soon as possible, enjoy it ! Gambling can't be superior on this wager site and also the fast installing australian gambling application could have you playing on-line ...

Don't miss: Greg Vandy, Kevin Murphy at The Royal Room {Thursday}

{American Standard Time at The Royal Room}

We started off the week with the Triple Door's Movie Monday series, and now we've got a great recommendation for your pre-weekend jam: starting this Thursday {and continuing through September}, KEXP's own Greg Vandy will be hosting second Thursdays at The Royal Room in Columbia City as part of his American Standard Time showcase series. The nights will feature live performances and DJ sets by Greg himself, along with on-stage chats and artist interviews. Killer! If you haven't been, The Royal Room is a cool, intimate space with a low stage, full food menu, and an all-around good vibe. Plus, attendance is free -- the venue just asks that you pay what you can via donation envelopes on your table for the bands.

We're particularly excited about this week's installment, as the series kicks off with headliner Kevin Murphy of The Moondoggies. While this won't be a Moondoggies show -- he's billed as Kevin Murphy and the Allman Butters -- we'd be remiss not to mention how stoked we are on the band's upcoming release, Adios I'm A Ghost {out August 13th on Hardly Art}. If you've been turned into KEXP lately, you've likely caught wind of one of the singles, "Red Eye," a short, catchy jaunt that showcases everything we love about this band: gorgeous harmonies blended with straight-forward chugging guitars, served with a heaping side of sad bastard:

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Movie Mondays at the Triple Door!

{High Fidelity}

Happy Monday, everyone! Still recovering from the weekend? Us too! That's why we'll be heading over to the Triple Door tonight {and every Monday through most of August} for this week's installment of Movie Mondays -- the very best low-key hang in town.

Movie Mondays kicked off two weeks ago with Hype!, and last week the one and only Grease was up on the big screen. Tonight one of our all-time favorites, High Fidelity, will be playing at the stroke of 8, and we hope to see you there! Admission is a mere $3, and if you get there early, you can also take advantage of the Triple Door's great happy hour specials.

Getting a chance to watch Rob knock Ian's teeth out with an actual phone on a big screen? And potstickers? YES PLEASE.

Here's the rest of the schedule:

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "

High Fidelity is SO GOOD! Hornby & Frears = a match made in heaven. Plus, one of the only good films Cusack has been in since the 90s.

See also: "THERE IS NO WAY YOUR DAUGHTER LIKES THAT SONG! Oh, is she in a coma?" $3!!!! ...

Don't miss: Lemolo + The Kaleidoscope Dance {Tacoma, 7/6}

{Lemolo at Columbia City Theater / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Listen up, friends to the south! Our lovely pals Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox (who you know better as Lemolo) are putting on a very special show this coming Saturday {7/6} in Tacoma: they'll be playing their debut album The Kaleidoscope from start to finish, with a dance troupe performing in sync for the entire show. Even if you're not in Tacoma, you should plan to go to Tacoma, because this will absolutely be worth the trip.

Okay, don't be scared. I know it sounds like the music of Lemolo being put to interpretive dance, because it is. But it's more than that! It's a big-dream collaborative idea that was hatched by some dancers in attendance at last year's album release show at Columbia City Theater -- and after a year of scheming and rehearsing, The BareFoot Collective and the MLK Ballet have turned that dream into a reality. Lemolo's soundscapey gorgeousness coupled with some of the most talented performance artists in Washington state? Yes please. I mean, seriously, these tracks are practically begging for performance art accompaniment:

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Happy anniversary to our amazing imaginary calendar editor (he's the BEST!)

Jason Doctor Rules!!!We've got a very important anniversary to celebrate here at imaginary headquarters. Ten years ago this week our very dear and very wonderful friend Jason Doctor, known by the imaginary name sero(tone)in, took the reigns of our imaginary show calendar as Calendar Editor-in-Chief.

Day in and day out, for the past 10 years, Jason has kept the Three Imaginary Girls calendar stocked full of all the show goings on in this town as well as infusing it with his learned recommendations.

He fearlessly tames the Three Imaginary Girls calendar email alias, wading through thousands of emails and the various weekly paper ads and announcements all in the name of keeping Seattle up to date on what shows they should go see (or at least be aware of).  

When he's not devoting all that time and hard work to the site, he's a brilliant barstool companion. He's a clever fountain of information about what happened at recent shows, what albums should be on our iPod, and what restaurants we should go to.  His dry wit is unmatched and champion-grade.  Oh, and dude can craft a fancy cocktail and bake a killer pie.

And, truthfully, we still don't know why he puts up with us.

I could post 100s of videos of songs he's introduced us to. But this one, a song by the Cure and performed by one of his favorite bands, always brings a smile to my face: Superchunk covering "In Between Days".

To loosely paraphrase Robert Smith (as sung by Mac McCaughan), "there couldn't be us... without you, Jason Doctor!"  (That is what they are singing, right?)
 

Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "

SO TRUE. We <3 you, Jason!!!! 

"

Recommended Show: BellaMaine with Poor Moon

The two singers who front BellaMaine are married to each other and have a toddler. At first blush, this adorable family image suits Julianne Thompson’s sweetly earnest voice. But then a second later one realizes how incredibly hardcore raising a baby and being in a band together really is, and the genius of BellaMaine becomes apparent.

BellaMaine’s songs might look like sweet and easy pop, but underneath their relaxed surface, these songs are made up of richly woven textures and dynamics; rhythms with strong forward momentum; and clever, memorable lyrics {“I’m not always honest, but I’m very sincere”}. Julianne and Nick’s vocals balance and provide counterpoints to each other in ways that are more satisfying than any pair since the xx, especially on the title track, “An Anxious Mind.”  Things get a little grittier on “Three Years,” and if “Away with the Boys” doesn’t have you singing, “I could share a lifetime with you, but your mama’s basement can’t fit two,” all summer, you probably have laryngitis.

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Peter Hook & The Light bringing New Order to Seattle {9/25}

Peter Hook is back at it (OMG! OMG!), putting together a new North American tour to perform New Order’s Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies in their entirety. Considering that New Order is my favorite band EVER, I had to breathe into a paper bag for a full ten minutes to quit hyperventilating after I heard the announcement.  Mark your calendars, people: September 25th is the day that Hooky will be bringing the original electro dance sound to Neumos. When I fall asleep at night, I dream about a world where everyone owns a panda and the boys of New Order play nice and get back together. It’s kind of like being from a broken home, constantly pulled between Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook for loyalty. Yeah, sure, Bernard is the voice -- but Hook’s signature bass playing is what totally defines the New Order sound for me.   

While the latest reincarnation of New Order is also touring the States this summer, early word on the street has it that Peter Hook’s show is obliterating the competition with his vigor and enthusiasm on stage. I’m not surprised considering he always seemed the most comfortable of the group in the role of front man, and after seeing him perform Joy Division’s “Control” a few years ago at the Showbox, it was clear that Peter Hook wasn’t afraid of the vocals, doing an impressive job of re-creating the sound without straight imitating Ian Curtis.

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "I am. I can't. OMG THIS IS AMAZING. "