Tonight in Seattle:  

Marissa Nadler Live at The Sunset Tavern

Photographs by the other AB

at The Sunset Tavern

It has been a few years since I last had the chance to see Marissa Nadler, and from the first breath of her highly reverbed vocals, I was transplanted back to some lonely late night room where her melancholy lullabies offered some kindred consolation. On Tuesday evening {6/7}, she performed a solo acoustic set at the Sunset, which was both intimate and lovely even though she proclaimed several times during her appearance that she wished she had the money to be able to bring her band along for the tour. It didn’t matter though because one striking sign that Nadler is a great artist is that she is able to create transcendent music whether or not there are other musicians accompanying her on stage.

Nadler has just released a new eponymous LP called Box of Cedar and showcased several songs from it in her set. “In Your Lair, Bear” is a stark song that is reminiscent of Songs III: Bird On The Water and could easily have fit on that record. It was certainly one of the most gorgeous songs of the evening. The simple, sorrowful structure of her finger-picked guitar is not dissimilar to Leonard Cohen and her spectral vocal delivery remains true to her classic sound. “Mr. John Lee Revisited” is another beautiful track. It explores similar territory to the former with a sad, gentle melody and mournful vocals.

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Brendan Perry and Robin Guthrie Live at Neumos

Photographs by Evelyn

at Neumos

The classic 4AD Records sound has been influential to a million bands in addition to remaining timeless in its unique place in history. The label is perhaps the greatest independent one in existence. Although the record company is still around today, it remains a mere shadow of its former self, a collective that released brilliant record after brilliant record during the 1980s and 1990s. Two noteworthy artists from that era, Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance) and Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) are currently on tour together and they stopped in Seattle on Wednesday evening for a well attended show that was also part of the Noise for the Needy benefit.

Robin Guthrie opened the show with about an hour of instrumental guitar soundscapes that were a cross between The Cocteau Twins and dreamy soundtrack material. With him onstage, he had a young drummer and bass player to help fill out the layers of sound. For a few pieces, the other two left the stage and Guthrie performed atmospheric melodies on his own, albeit with a generous collection of guitar pedals.

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The Capillaries

Photo by: Jonas Seaman

at The Mix

For a good many years, I’ve had a recurring dream that I’m visiting my native New Jersey but, due to myriad circumstances, am unable to leave. On one such, er, imaginary excursion, I wandered into a record store and, much to my surprise, heard the “new” Capillaries album playing overhead. When I sought to buy a copy, the clerk informed me that I could procure it either in CD format or, if I were so inclined, I could experience it by drinking a bubblegum-flavored soda. One needn’t be all that familiar with The Capillaries to understand why my subconscious might make that association.

The Caps hadn’t performed live for several years - the last time I saw them was in June 2008  when they graciously shared the stage for the farewell show of my comrades Edisyn. Suffice to say I was delighted when I learned they’d be playing this past Saturday at The Mix along with Can You Imagine? and Wormburner.

Though the lineup has changed over the years, The Capillaries are the brainchild of Matt Southworth. On this night, he was joined by Aaron Huffman of Harvey Danger fame on bass and one of my favorite drummers (and people) Mr. Aaron Brown.

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Latest comment by: Chickentender: "Ummm.... Flat-Top Tony and the Purple Canoes is a BRILLLLLIANT name!"

The Black Angels at The Showbox

Photographs by AB1

at Showbox at the Market

Even though they are few and far between, every once in a while a band with lasting power comes out of nowhere. The Black Angels is certainly one of them. At this point, they have been around long enough to release three LPs while continuing to steadily grow in popularity, but they still seem like a recent discovery. The group was just here in November, but that didn’t stop fans from filling up the Showbox for their appearance. From the moment that they climbed aboard the stage on Tuesday evening, Austin’s best psychedelic entourage had the audience in a drugged out trance.

Amidst a black and white backdrop and heavy strobe lights, The Black Angels were captivating no matter what substances anybody was under the influence of. Their first record, the Velvet Underground meets Thirteenth Floor Elevators meets Spacemen 3 masterpiece, Passover, was well represented in the setlist. The filthy, droning “The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven” sounded as good as ever and the immortal dirge “Black Grease,” with its angry, loosely anti-war “kill kill kill kill” refrain was moving. Singer, Alex Maas, was pouring himself into this one, as always.

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Pains of Being Pure at Heart woo The Crocodile

at The Crocodile

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart played a sold-out show to promote new album Belong at The Crocodile last Friday, with many of the Imaginary crowd eagerly in attendance.  Offering a welcome retreat from the Sakura-Con crowds, the show also heralded in the spring concert season that I have long been anticipating.

This was not a concert to thrash about to, and at times it seemed more fitting to be cross-legged under a willow tree with a hot cuppa (Do POBPAH sell thermoses or teasets?  I sense a niche in the merch stand!) than shuffling to-and-fro amid the humid belly of The Crocodile.  The music of POBPAH is cardigan-clad, awkward, and unapologetically poppy - but who cares?  This love is fucking right.

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