Tonight in Seattle:  

The Walkmen

Live at KEXP vol. 7: on sale now!

{Live at KEXP volume 7 is here!}

Welcome to Rocktober, everybody! And what better way to start the month than with a celebration of what makes the Seattle music scene so great? Yep, we're talking about KEXP. The fall pledge drive is on, and it needs your pledge of support!

You can call anytime this week {locals call 206.903.KEXP, toll free is 866.903.KEXP}, log in online and do an electronic pledge, or walk yourself on over to the station and give. There's tons of great thank-you gifts -- shirts, totes, lunchbags, 500 Club memberships -- nothing is too small to count. Whether you can give five dollars, five dollars a month, five hundred dollars, or five hundred dollars a month, everything makes a difference and everything is appreciated. We've given to the station at varying states of financial gain (and diress), we've been one-time donors and Amplifier Club members, and year after year we remain in good standing in whatever capacity we can, giving our hard-earned money (and time, when we can!) to support a cause that's near and dear to our hearts for so many reasons.

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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!

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Countdown to Musicfest Northwest in 3... 2...

Technically, you can get your Musicfest Northwest (MFNW) on starting tonight -- there will be a few gigs going on around town down in Portland to warm up the masses -- but our imaginary coverage will officially begin tomorrow and we can't hardly wait!  There's quite a few acts and sorta-showcases that we're espcially stoked to see... so without further ado, here are some of our picks for the best-of-the-fest shows for the next four days.

Please note: the approximate start times are listed for the first band only and are subject to change -- always check your internets before heading out!

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside
Thursday, 10p @ Berbati's Pan

[sallie ford and the sound outside]

Having seen and heard a lot about these darlings since their 2009 blip on our Seattle radar, it's going to be quite a treat to catch them at a hometown show. Full of good ol' fashioned big-bodied electric sound and a pair of lungs that just won't quit, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside are as swoon-tastic as it gets!

David Bazan + band / Joshua Morrison
Thursday, 9p @ the Doug Fir

[david bazan / by hot avocados photography]

Does this even need an explanation? Hot on the heels of two stellar performances at Bumbershoot, David Bazan (along with the current installment of his band) have fine tuned their sound to some true indie rock perfection. Achy and anthematic to the core, we're super-stoked to catch them at a venue like the 'Fir. Add in local favorite-home-safe Joshua Morrison, and you've got a night on your hands to remember.

The Thermals
Thursday, 10:30p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[the thermals]

The Thermals killed Bumbershoot, the new album rules, and we'll be there with bells on. 'nuff said.

Okkervil River / Bobby Bare, Jr.
Friday, 10p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[okkervil river]

One of those lineups that makes you grateful that the bookers are playing close attention: a headlining set with OKR and a warmup by local favorite Bobby Bare, Jr. sounds like the next best thing since sliced bread. The boys of Okkervil have been hard at work, following up their last album with some amazing work next to the great Roky Erickson, and judging by the sound of the twitterverse, on to the next recording of something beautiful.

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It's time to prefunk! Music Fest Northwest is coming, September 8-12

While everyone is prefunking Bumbershoot, we'd like to take a moment to officially get the prefunk to the prefunk for Music Fest Northwest going. Starting today.

If you've never been, MFNW is like a crazier, spread-out-ier Bumbershoot -- spanning four days and venues all over town -- or a tinier, cleaner SXSW. Minus the industry hoo-ha and power-showcases and seminars. Beginning on Wednesday, September 8th, our sweet sister-city will be hosting a veritable slew of amazing bands all over town. Acts like Okkervil River, Menomena, the Decemberists, the Cave Singers, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, the Thermals, Dave Bazan, Bobby Bare, Jr., the Walkmen, the National, and the Tallest Man On Earth -- among many, many others -- will be bringing an extended weekend of bliss to Portland for our listening and viewing pleasure.

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Latest comment by: ig viva: "can't wait to sail my boat on the oakerville riviera."

Photo Essay: I think the Walkmen broke my face

Photos by Hot Avocados Photography

at Neumo's

Blissy loud, amazing loud, "That can not possibly be coming from one guitar" kind of loud.

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Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "me too. num!"

Best of 2008: Top 10 Albums from Pete Greenberg of Chop Suey

The top 10 albums "that made my head spin (in a good way)" from Chop Suey booker Pete Greenberg.

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Latest comment by: Alex: "Great list. I should have seen Frightened Rabbit last time they came through town"

Erik Gonzalez's best o' 2008

It has now been 2.5 years since I moved out of Seattle for the Golden State. I've slowly drifted out of the NW music culture, so sometimes I wonder if I know what to say on TIG these days.

Combine that with the fact that I was so distracted from music for a lot of 2008, this year's "best of" lists were especially difficult. Heck, I don't even think I can make a Best of NW music list this year, not because there was insufficient music, but because I just missed so many of those important-but-not-well-known releases that make these lists. I did enjoy Fleet Foxes, Common Market, Colin Meloy live, Malkmus and the like, but really, that isn't a "Best of the NW" list but rather a list of albums I liked that happened to be from the NW.

That being said, I did get a last minute music revival for the year. Maybe it was the election being over (and the good guys winning), maybe it was finally getting a faculty position after many years of trying (lets just say Erik will be moving east in 2009), maybe 2008 just didn't mesh with me musically. Who knows? However, there was a lot of great music anyway, and here are my top 20 (for your praise or fist shaking). Feel free to read the full commentary

 

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Bumbershoot 2008: Day 1

Bumbershoot 2008 photo by Kyle Johnson

at Bumbershoot 2008

Bumbershoot is a musical extravaganza, spanning the three-day Labor Day weekend with more bands, arts, and elephant ears than anyone can possibly capture. We had a posse of imaginary writers (ChrisB, Chris Estey, imaginary elle, imaginary dana, and Cory), and photographers (Chona, Kyle, Nathan, and Andrew) all over Seattle Center, trying to capture the frenzy and mayhem of Bumbershoot 2008. Below you can see and read about our adventures during the first day, which kicked off with local electronic duo Beehive and ended with superstar Beck, and covered over 20 other bands in-between.

Enjoy!

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The Walkmen — A Hundred Miles Off and 'Pussycats' Starring the Walkmen

The Walkmen
The Walkmen have been busy little beavers in 2006. Two full-length albums for our enjoyment and they couldn't be more different.

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Sushirobo

Sushirobo

at Graceland

Here's a band that named themselves after a Vancouver restaurant where robots make sushi, playing music that intentionally de-emphasizes traditional guitar, instead opting for spacious tones with plenty of room for the irreverent.

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