Tonight in Seattle:  

The Moondoggies

Happy birthday, Seattle Living Room Shows!

at Lively Lounge

How do you throw yourself a surprise party? If you’re Kristen and Carrie Watt, you book a festival’s worth of the Pacific Northwest’s favorite indie musicians and a glamorous private venue in SoDo and then sell tickets announcing only the date and time. And if you’re the Watt sisters, fans and friends of Seattle Living Room Shows will trust you and flock to see your mystery acts. And they will love it.

The venue was the Lively Lounge, a recording studio cum concert hall atmospherically decorated with chandeliers and candles, with two bars serving drinks and room for 300 people. The crowd was uncharacteristically chatty for a Living Room Show; Kristen had to put her bossy pants on and remind the audience that SLRS is a listening room experience. Maybe it was the size of the venue that made people forget themselves, but common courtesy would have led the conversationally inclined to one of the couch-filled side rooms where they wouldn’t have disturbed those who’d rather hear the music than their neighbors.

Iska Dhaaf opened the celebration. The drums and guitar/keyboard duo sounds heavier live than recorded. Reverb-drenched vocals and Doorsy keyboards give them a bit of a ‘60s sound, but the songs have more of an angular Alt-J feel than a retro one. Every aspect of their performance had clear intentionality that you rarely see in a live show. Even the guitar feedback was controlled. In fact they talked to the sound guy more than the audience, but all this attention to detail did nothing to diminish the intensity of the performance. People on either side of me were asking, “Who is this again?” as they danced. Yes, that’s right folks. Seattleites danced to unfamiliar music.


Latest comment by: Violette B: "The Marc Broussard show on 5/23 has sold out. Luckily another has been added 5/22 and tickets are still available (as of the time I am posting this comment. "

2013: a mostly-local year in the rearview mirror {pt. II}

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
David Bazan at the Neptune, as part of the Barsuk 15th-year anniversary shows.

Summer -- endless summer! -- was full to the brim of incredible shows: I had the fortune of hosting John Vanderslice in my living room (and my backyard), spending a few days with Tom Brosseau, seeing Paul McCartney from the third row at Safeco, strolling around the farm for a hot weekend at Pickathon, and it all closed out with a most excellent Bumbershoot experience. I literally couldn't have asked for more!

At the same time, my sonic landscape was interspersed with the likes of Crosby Stills & Nash, KEXP's Six Degrees of Sharon van Etten, a hearty Zeptember, and tracks off the new releases from Laura Veirs, The Moondoggies and a random (to me) band that hit the imaginary inbox called Brass Bed.

I love these songs the same way I love "Northwestern Girls" by Say Hi. They feel so locally-steeped and hand-forged, bringing the best of the PNW home to roost in their respective deliveries: Laura Veirs takes us on a light-soaked journey paying homage to the sun, the Moondoggies bombard us with sound from the stage of our favorite Ballard bar. A+++. {Get the MDs album here, and Laura's here. Hers is even available on reel-to-reel!}

If we're going to get super technical here, this Brass Bed track came out on a 7" in 2012 as a preview of the 2013 album, The Secret Will Keep You. So, filed under new-new or new-to-me-new, it still counts so far as I'm concerned. I haven't spent a ton of time with the full-length, but the single struck me enough to slip it into a few mixes this year. Not local, still magically delicious. Start with their bandcamp and go from there to see if anything else strikes you -- there's an EP of Nilsson covers from 2012, and tour dates if you're inclined.

{Tom Brosseau / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Tom Brosseau, holding down the fort out behind our own Tractor Tavern.

Speaking of Tom Brosseau, not only did I get to take in two incredible shows on the tour he did with Sean Watkins this past summer -- at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, and the following night at the Tractor -- I've got my bets hedged on his 2014 release, Grass Punks, being one of the best non-local releases of the year (right alongside my pending-official-release northwest favorites, Damien Jurado's Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son and Barry Uhl's An Account of the Happenings at Wretched Knob). It's my favorite record he's done since I fell in love with what I mean to say is goodbye -- I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop since picking up a tour-only copy at those shows this summer, and I can't wait for it to get officially birthed out into the world. Keep an eye on all things Tom at his website here.


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:


A very imaginary weekend: PopCon, Record Store Day, and more!

So, you're not one of the lucky folks with tickets to Prince? Fret not, dear imaginaries. There are endless options to get your music fix this weekend, between a bounty of shows, PopCon, Record Store Day, and KEXP's Hood-to-Hood Celebration -- and that's barely the beginning of it.

Lace up those sneakers and make yourself a schedule! Here's some of the things we'll be out taking in over the next few days:


KEXP's Hood-to-Hood Celebration 2013 {U District}

{KEXP Hood-to-Hood 2013}

If you're reading this from your desk at work, it's likely you've already missed Jonathan Russell {The Head and the Heart}, Damien Jurado and Tomo Nakayama {Grand Hallway} opening up a day of live broadcasting and bands at Red Square. It's all happening as part of KEXP's Hood-to-Hood Day Celebration in the U District, going strong until 6pm tonight, with a ton of evening DJ sets and performances in area venues after that (PS, most are free). You can catch Alex, Larry Rose, Quilty 3000, see Pony Time play a live set, or check out a photo showcase as part of the Artwalk! There's also a Cafe Racer memorial benefit with Don Slack and Greg Vandy happening {at Cafe Racer, 8:30p, $5 suggested donation}. Check out the KEXP blog for more details.

White Hawaiian {The Blue Moon}

There's a whole slew of people taking the stage at the Blue Moon tonight, but we're most excited about the show's opener, White Hawaiian. You know Jamie Aaron as the guitarist in Eighteen Individual Eyes and H is for Hellgate, and in this incarnation, she'll be bringing her dreamy, moody, lo-fi multi-track goodness solo style. Pop on over here to check out Jamie's Soundcloud vibes, and get yourself to the bar early as she'll be starting off the night. More info about the show (and the rest of the bands) at the Facebook event page here.



Latest comment by: Litsa Dremousis: "^ That should read, "...I hope *you* reveled in..." Argh: late-night typo!"

Here we go, Austin! Here we go! *clap!* *clap!*

Yup. There sure are a lot of exclamation points up in that headline, and with good cause: we're heading off for Austin City Limits this weekend, to catch some bands and some tan in the near-hundred-degree sun. Between pre-trip laundering, hydrating, charging our camera batteries and getting all that three-ounce-or-less business handled for the flight, we thought we'd take a minute to let you know about some of the acts we're particularly excited about this year -- especially since there seems to be a particularly strong PNW presence to be reckoned with every single day of the 'fest.

{Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Brandi Carlile / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

The start of the fest on Friday is kind of like easing in to that hot, soapy, not-too-dirty-yet festival bath. Hometown heroine Brandi Carlile will be getting things going early in the day, and we're hoping her sweet sounds will put us in the right kind of mood to slide over into Ray LaMontagne's late afternoon set -- they're both playing at the AMD stage starting around 2p. As the day darkens, we hope to get a little more gritty with the Cave Singers, and while Cold War Kids and Bright Eyes blow their sets out back-to-back {on the Honda and AMD stages respectively, for those of you following along in your custom-made schedules at home}, we might have to weasel our way forward to get a bigger-than-Bumbershoot-sized helping of Charles Bradley as he closes out the Vista Equity stage just before forever-legend Mavis Staples. As to whether we end day one with Kanye West or Coldplay -- my vote's on Kanye. But seeing as the fest is all sold out except for a few Sunday passes, we might not be able to make it close enough for a photo report. Fingers crossed!

Pending crowd surges (and weather permitting), we hope to also make time to get a little Delta Spirit, Smith Westerns, Kurt Vile, and Santigold into our schedules too!


There's still time to get to Portland for MusicFest Northwest this weekend!

{MFNW 2010, Pioneer Courthouse Square / by Victoria VanBruinisse

There's still time-a-plenty to get your Friday donewith and head on down to Portland for this year's installment of what's quickly becoming our favorite regional city-wide music festival, MusicFest Northwest. For four sweet nights (well, five technically, if you count the goings-on around town that started Wednesday) some of the best local and national-worthy acts sweep in and take over our hip sister city. There's a little something for everyone, and we can state from direct experience that you will have a hell of a weekend should you make the venture down south! The price is reasonable (although we can't recommend the line-skipping VIP wristband privileges enough), the city is bikeable, driveable and parkable, and there's plenty to do in your late-late off-hours around town to keep things... well, let's just say 'entertaining.'

Sleep in, fill your sunny days with KEXP in-studios at the Doug Fir {full lineup available here}, and get your nightlife on at our recommended {** = MEGA recommended} shows below -- scheduling conflicts included:


Photoessay: day three of Sasquatch! at the Gorge

{The Moondoggies / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Wayne Coyne and Jim Bennett / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Sunday morning's installment of the Sasquatch! music festival found us with smiling, weary eyes and happy tired feet from all the blissing-out (two posts' worth!), which worked out perfectly with the grey sky vibe and our first sets of the day. The alt.folk.traditional-yet-bizarre sounds of Cotton Jones began the trip for us on the small (Yeti) stage, and their sounds bled nicely into the warm, longing big-guitar melody of the Moondoggies on the Bigfoot stage. Bursts of sun came through just in time for the straightforward rock of Black Joe Lewis, who lifted us up perfectly to take on a dusk set from Gayngs and a mindmelting mainstage show from the Flaming Lips.

Photos below!


Recommended show: Benefit for Drew Grow at Columbia City Theater {2/19}

{Drew Grow / by Dan Muller}

There's only one place to be on Saturday night, and that's at the benefit show for Drew Grow out at Columbia City Theater. Featuring (mostly) acoustic performances by The Maldives, Kevin Murphy of The Moondoggies, Mychal Benjamin Goodweather of Campfire OK, Bryan John Appleby, Jake Hemming of Big Sur, Ghosts I've Met and, apparently, some special secret guests.

On top of what will prove to be a compelling night of live music, CCT will be opening its doors early for a silent auction starting at 7 with all proceeds going to Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives. It includes items like three nights at the Doe Bay Retreat House for you and 19 of your closest friends, $2,000 worth of web-design by Hardly Coded, and an array of more affordable items too. In addition, a merch market will be open all night with vinyl from Damien Jurado, prints from Dylan Priest and Sarah Jurado, special silk-screened posters made just for the benefit by Killorn O'Neill -- the list goes on and on.

True story: be there, or kick yourself in the pants forever. When good people come together doing great things for a worthy cause, magic is bound to happen.


Can't get enough: new Moondoggies track {plus tour dates}

{The Moondoggies}

My love for the Moondoggies is rooted in an accident, by way of KEXP: it was the one-two punch tracks that made it onto my radar a while back of "Save My Soul" > "Changing" that got me onto their brand of junk. And I say 'accident' there because I wasn't seeking out any new alt.beardrock, and while I loved those songs, I wasn't aching in the soles of my workboots for more Moondoggies music as a result of that listen. But inherent in those songs was some kind of catch, something that couldn't be denied -- it seemed like no matter how many times I heard that combo, I just couldn't get sick of it. The lines translated, every single time. The music lifted me up and sat me gently back down in my seat, every single time. And just as that started to fade out, my recent obsession with the video for "Empress of the North" -- so lovingly illustrated by Drew Christie -- faded in, coupled with the pinch of fame generated by Lynn Shelton's $5 Cover. And all of a sudden, this band was taking up a legitimate percentage of my bandwidth.

Suffice it to say, the Moondoggies are what's good, and I'm hooked. Their presence on the scene is increasing these days, and with good cause -- they've got an earnest brand of indie.Northwest.lumbercore going, varying in sounds-like influences from The Band to Band of Horses depending on the track, the weather, and the day of the week. And everything I hear makes me pay more attention, every new track makes me want to listen to one more, and everything they've done lately takes them one step further from separating themselves from the Great Beard Movement of the last few years.

It's quite an accomplishment to transcend a pigeonholed state like lumbercore / beard rock, and these guys have done it. They're taking everything that's good about that kind of sound and pulling it across the land of post-hippie jam bands, closer to the other side of that wide road into a more genre-less territory -- where things are still all heartache-y-breaky but lean a little more toward anthematic, and bands like the Avett Brothers hold seat at the top of the hill. Case in point, the Moondoggies have released a track off the new album Tidelands, that's been on heavy rotation since the end of last week at our imaginary desks. It's called "What Took So Long" and you can go 'n get your repeat on over at the band's Soundcloud page here.


Friday's Cave Singers show: a trifecta of awesome.

[The Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse]

There's not too many things you can compare to a Cave Singers show. The sheer size of the music, the presence that this band creates when they take the stage -- it's almost surreal. They're enrapturing, they're the real deal, and they're playing at the Showbox (at the Market) this Friday night. Hardly seems possible that this show is already here, seeing as we're still reeling from their sets at Pickathon and No Depression this summer, but it is indeed all happening. And the rest of the bill just sweetens the deal!

The Moondoggies will be playing the middle-slot on Friday, bringing their heartfelt-yet-ballsy everythingness to our willing eyes and ears. They've got a new album out called Tidelands, which they released last month on Hardly Art, and one of the standout tracks has been transformed into the most wonderful four minutes of visual heartache we've ever seen in a cartoon. (Yes, a cartoon.) Drew Christie has taken the swoon-worthyness of "Empress of the North" and set it to animation, as only he can -- and here's the living proof, so you can see the radness for yourself:

To round out this triple-win, the night will be opening up with a new(er)(ish)(notreally) group you might have heard about called Lovesick Empire. It's made up of a few of our favorite locals who come together for a dark, pre-White Stripes, dare we say, 'grungy?' authentic Seattle sound -- just take a listen to "White Wolf Blood" and "Home Sick" on their MySpace page and see if you disagree. We seriously can't hardly wait to see them live!