Tonight in Seattle:  

John Roderick In My Living Room

One last clip from More Than Shapes: The House Show Songs {starring John Roderick}

It's with bittersweet hearts that we welcome you to the last {new release} Tuesday in our presentation of More Than Shapes: The House Show Songs series. We're taking our exit music here a bit a gracefully, quiet but by no means is it any less of a bang, with a gorgeous rendition of "Mimi" from the spot in front of the fireplace.

John Roderick's ability to paint imagery throughout his songscape is at times unparalleled, matched only by the journey we take in our minds as he builds and broadens the path for us. As Adam {Pranica} so aptly states, you can almost see the cold, bright scenery going by through the car window. As such, beauty and danger juxtapose on that road, in the soundtracks behind our eyes and in the recesses of our hearts, and between the lines of most of John's work:

"When I visited Alaska in January, I knew one of the things I had to do was drive the Seward Highway. It was one of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken, and in the dead of winter the Turnagain Arm, which runs alongside it, is filled with hypnotically slow-moving glacial ice. In addition to its beauty, the Seward Highway is also one of the most dangerous roads in the country - a combination of frequent avalanches, arctic storms, and narrow curves at freeway speed mean it is often dotted with makeshift graves.

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Latest comment by: James: "How nice to I have to be to get to see the rest of the songs from that amazing performance? Barring nice, into whose bed should I deposit the horse head to get to see the rest of the songs from that amazing performance?"

More Than Shapes: John Roderick + Neutral Milk Hotel = bliss

It's Tuesday, and that means another new release from More Than Shapes: The House Show songs. This time, it's one of my personal favorite moments from the night: John's incredibly compelling cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "The King of Carrot Flowers, pt. 1". As Adam states, "...in the wrong hands a cover song can be a crutch, or an awkward homage, or a flashy attempt at credibility by co-opting someone else's. In the right situation though, a thoughtfully chosen cover song signals the turning point in a set like few other things can. It's a chance for a performer to say "this is what inspires me" without actually saying it." One could argue that in the realm of discussions on the topic that truer words had never before been spoken.

Many try their hand at the perfect cover, and few succeed. However, with those tries come a chance at brilliance: results like Eef Barzelay's ever-slaying choices come to mind, most notably his rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" heard on his most recent trip through Seattle this past holiday season; or Nada Surf's delivery of "Enjoy the Silence" from the stage of the Tractor a few weeks ago, or the Postal Service's mindbendingly beautiful version of "Against All Odds". However, on this particular evening, with this particular group of folks, and this particular artist choosing this particular cover -- a magic moment took place that superceded any other cover we could recall to memory with the sufficient force needed to drown it out. This moment, this song, the combination of everything we love about John fused with the brilliance of Jeff Mangum in a crowded Ballard living room -- it was almost more than our collective hand-stamped hearts could take. It may be the shortest song in the series, but it's a contender for leaving the biggest mark.

Give it a listen and see for yourself. And if you haven't seen them already, there's two other releases earlier this month that you can take the time to soak in here and here.

{Special thanks to Laura Musselman for putting this request in the jar at the show!}

Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

This is one of my most favorite things ever!!!

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More from More Than Shapes: Valentine's Day edition

We're so happy to share another {new release} Tuesday with you, and this week it just so happens to line up with the day of Saint Valentine -- what better way to celebrate the day of love, longing, and mended / broken hearts than with a new favorite? Whether you're picking up a long-awaited album to give as a gift, to take home and digest, or to use to make a mix for (or in spite of) that special someone, here's something we can all agree on: another new video from the More Than Shapes collection will undoubtedly make your day. This time it's one of our personal favorites from The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, "Scent of Lime" -- a track equally appealing to the happy and the forlorn in all of us.

It's a bit fitting that Valentine's day naysayers "...argue[s] that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs [are] posing as historical fact" when it comes to the love-tinged commercial traditions of February 14th every year. The music of The Long Winters tends to serve as that same formula for many, where one is easily able to insert one's self into the story line to make it their own, regardless of the histories held or factual accounts of the past. Thus, the language of John Roderick is a language that speaks to all of us, much like love itself. Because the plainest words really are the finest. And we're oh-so-happy to be able to share his words with you.

{Be sure to take a peek at last week's introduction to the series, and stay tuned for a new video next Tuesday, February 21st.}

Latest comment by: imaginary victoria: "

I still can't believe this actch happened, ps.

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Imaginary exclusive! More Than Shapes, starring John Roderick of the Long Winters

Adam Pranica, filmmaker and principal over at Dorsia Films and true indie rock enthusiast, with the perfect opening line:

"In the winter of 2011, Victoria VanBruinisse came up with a crazy idea to invite John Roderick of The Long Winters over for a potluck dinner. He played a few songs, told some stories, and ate all of the food."

And that's pretty much the long and short of it. When I found out that I was going to be in New York at CMJ for this past year's City Arts Festival, and would subsequently be missing the only performance by the Long Winters for the 2011 calendar year, I almost cried. Not literally, but still. It was a huge disappointment, a sigh to end all sighs, the conundrum that comes from being vested in so many interests and not being able to be everywhere at once. And so I did what any fan would do: I suggested to John that perhaps he might want to play a show in my living room.  I base much of my interactions on the simple methodology of the old adage that it never hurts to ask, because as the lottery tells us, you can't win if you don't play.

Well, we played alright, and we won. All of us, and that's you {yes, you!} included, because we won something big: a beautiful, candle-and-twinkle-light-lit evening with two dozen of our closest friends, where we enjoyed food, comraderie, and a series of brilliantly performed songs by the one and only John Roderick. And because of the genius embedded in Adam Pranica, Tyler Kalberg, and Zach Varnell -- the latter two being names you should recognize from the Notes from Home series -- we get to share the collective product from that near-perfect night with the world.

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Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

John @3... you're totally right! It still blows my mind that this happened, and that it's all on film, and that we get to watch it over and over! 

Countdown to the V-day post has begun.

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