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Recommended shows

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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This is what you're doing tonight: Charles Bradley at Neumos

{Charles Bradley / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Seattle is divided into two parts: those who know Charles Bradley (and The Menahan Street Band) and those who don't. If you know Charles Bradley + Co., you've already got tickets for their show at Neumos tonight, and you'll probably be there at doors to get a spot up front (after you've tuned in to the KEXP in-studio they're doing at 1pm, of course). You've bought the album and seen the movie.

And you were beside yourself at Bumbershoot and Sasquatch! these past two years at getting a chance to see them live.

And if you don't know Charles Bradley, well -- you're in luck. We're here to help you out. Here's his official video for "The World Is Going Up In Flames" off of last year's smash, No Time For Dreaming.

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The Imaginary Holiday Spectacular poster is here!

It's all happening! Behold, the super-radtastical poster for this year's Imaginary Holiday Spectacular. Big thanks to our very own Imaginary Liz and Sean for putting it together! 

If you didn't see the news flash earlier this week, pop on over here for our show announcement post. We'll be telling you more about the featured bands over the month of December as we count down to the show -- and we hope to see you all on the 21st!

Save the date: the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular is coming! {12/21}

{John Roderick and Eric Elbogen / by John E. Hollingsworth}

Yep, you guessed it -- with the passing of Thanksgiving, the holiday season is now officially in full swing, and with that, we're super excited this morning to announce the 2012 lineup for the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular!

Get your calendars out and mark the date: this year's show will be taking place on Friday, December 21st, and we'll be returning back to the Hill {Chop Suey, to be specific} for a 21-and-up night of music, good vibes, and Santa-lap hilarity. This year's theme is Open Mic Night, and will be featuring some stripped-down sets from Pablo Trucker, Lesli Wood (of The Redwood Plan), Cristina Bautista, Leif Anders (of The Orca Team), Chris Otepka (of The Heligoats), and Brite Lines. Of course, we've got the inimitable John Roderick playing Indie Rock Santa for the evening, with John E. Hollingsworth bringing his photo-tastic skills to capture your special holiday moment. Hooray!

Tickets are on sale now, and if we do say so ourselves, ten dollars (!) is a mighty fair price to pay for an evening of all this fun! But if you still need convincing, stay tuned: we'll be posting features in the upcoming weeks about all the artists taking part in this year's show. And PS, be sure to head on over to the Facebook page for the event to stay in the loop.

Happy almost-holidays!

{Photo of John Roderick and Eric Elbogen from 2011's Imaginary Holiday Spectacular by John Hollingsworth.}

Latest comment by: Anonymous: "Thank you! I dug out all of my pearls and my Santa hat. Can't wait!"

Recommended Show: Ya Gotta Believe! at Richard Hugo House {11/16}

We wanted to give some love to the Richard Hugo House this week, because it’s amongst our favorite artistic community venues, and we don’t talk about it enough!

On Friday, November 16, as part of the 2012-2013 Literary Series, the Hugo House is hosting writers Ryan Boudinot (“Blueprints of the Afterlife”), Emily Kendall Frey (“The Grief Performance”), and Claire Dederer (“Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses”), who will lead a discussion of what to believe - and why Ya Gotta Believe!

With new music created by Jason Dodson of The Maldives, this event is going to be something super-extra-special, and super imaginary!

You should definitely snap up some tix online now, before it sells out.

{Ya Gotta Believe! | Richard Hugo House | Friday, 12/16, 7:30pm | $25 general, $20 HH members | All Ages, Bar with ID} 

Digging in to Wintersong: Naomi Wachira and Kevin Long

{Team Up Presents: Wintersong}

As promised, we're coming to you today with a bit more of an in-depth look at some of the artists playing Wintersong, the Team Up for Nonprofits benefit we told you about last week. On the odd chance you're holding off on buying a ticket and putting fifteen of your hard-earned dollars to work for the cause, let's see if we can't get you on board with the lineup:

Naomi Wachira

{Naomi Wachira}

Naomi Wachira is going to be one of the artists starting the evening off at the Crocodile in a few weeks, and are we sure glad that we took the time to listen to what she's been putting out into the ether. Holy heaven in a soundbyte! Rooted in Kenya and now hailing from Seattle, this local artist has got a style all her own, with a sound that "blends elements of African rhythm, American folk, and soul" -- all while dropping vocals like fine-tuned bells: punchy, clear and poignant in their every tone. Take your ears on over to the few tracks she's got up on her ReverbNation page, and be immediately sold. We can't wait to hear more at the show, and we'll be up front early on in the night to make sure we don't miss a minute.

Go-to track: "You Better." If you can get with Nathaniel Rateliff's hits-to-the-gut crosshatched through with African soul-sensibility, you'll love this brand of groove.

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Latest comment by: Anonymous: "Can not wait! "

I love this shit: Husky

As we mentioned this summer, recent Sub Pop signees Husky have taken on the world with their "meticulous, soothing, gentle-assault, looking out the train window movie-soundtrack sound", and so far as we can tell, the masses agree. Since that post, we saw Husky come through town on a bill with Shearwater, and the next time we turned around, they're premiering the very video above on Rolling Stone's website. Bravah, Heathers -- the beautiful, attention-grabbing, slow-chugging train of "Tidal Wave" deserves all the attention it can get.

Husky just played a few dates in the Northwest last weekend -- but if you happen to be out in the rest of the country {Chicago, Boston, New York and the like}, you've still got a chance to catch them live over the next few weeks. Pop on over to their Sub Pop page to take a peek at their upcoming tour dates, and head on out to the shows if you can.