! = recommended
* = all-ages
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Immediately after their triumphant set at the Capitol Hill Block Party last month, I checked Twitter to see if my friends had the same reaction to Gossip’s set as I did. The comments were buzzing, referring the lead singer Beth Ditto as a force of nature and raving about the dance party the band created while on stage.
What makes this band so special, though, is the combination of their sound with their message. Ditto is a lesbian, feminist and overweight and has been outspoken for body acceptance issues and feminist causes. It never sounds preachy because band’s sound is so accessible with danceable beats and a punk ethos, held together by Ditto’s commanding voice. She sounds like a soul singer leading a punk band. The sound is filled out by Nathan Howdeshell (aka Brace Paine) filling in the guitar, bass and synth parts and drummer Hannah Blilie, formerly of the aesthetically and ideologically similar band Shoplifting.
Gossip just released their excellent dance punk album Music for Men on Columbia Records, working with producer Rick Rubin, one of the most well-known people in the music business. That raised a few eyebrows, with Gossip known for their punk, DIY aesthetic and Rubin being the ultimate music insider. Still, the result is a great album that continues Gossip’s sound while reaching a broader audience of new Gossip fans.
I spoke with Nathan Howdeshell by phone about the album, being a punk band on a major label and their upcoming tour, which includes a stop in Seattle at the Showbox at the Market on October 23. When he told me about the tour he wanted to put together next, I wasn’t kidding when I said I want to quit my job and follow that tour across the country (or world).
As I approached Block Party from Broadway on day two of Block Party, I heard the rising wave of Hey Marseilles on the main stage. Upon entering, my half hung over self was immediately swept up in their orchestral swell. Their performance only got better and better until the last song where their improvised musical meanderings became overwhelming.
Get yr dancing shoes on, ya'll, The Gossip is comin to town. The oft alternatively-spelling Southern trio is coming to Seattle in October, bringing fatty love, fashion, and female empowerment in tow. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 31st at 10:00 AM. They are playing the Showbox, October 23rd. Tickets are $20.00 in advance and $22.00 at the door. This show will likely sell out, so if you wanna rawk with Ditto and co, it's in yr best interest to get tickets early!
The Gossip is touring on their new album Music For Men, which hits stores on October 6th. If the track "Heavy Cross" is any indicator of the quality of this new album, Ditto's fans will be in for a real treat. Again, she splashes her canvas with soul, disco, punk, and gospel, makes them her own, and completely dominates every sound to the fullest.
Find somethin frilly and foxxy, put on your brightest red lipstick and get ready to scream, sweat, and dance yr azz off with the band that says "We will nvr die + we will nvr diet."
And, because it is about the hawttest thing ever put to tape, and (because it's so hawt outside and this is so cool) check out Beth Ditto and Jarvis Cocker singing "Temptation" by Heaven 17 (I'm done with the spelling,I promise...)
Considering the window of weather for outdoor antics is pitifully small in Seattle, it seems we have learned to really pack the few months of sunshine with good times, great oldies and a bunch of great new bands as well. 12 years ago Capitol Hill Block Party began and next week you can take part in its revelry. With a particularly punk-rock lineup, what a good time it will be! With three stages and over 50 bands between July 24th and 25th, not to mention satellite parties to attend, you ‘d really have to strive to not have fun at Block Party. This year the headliners on the main stage are The Jesus Lizard on the main stage Friday night and Sonic Youth on Saturday.
Tickets are still available (but I can't imagine it wont sell out soon - so go get yours soon). And if you're headed there, note that the main entrance has moved to 12th and Pike which should make for a better traffic flow.
After wowing crowds at SIFF 2007, the documentary Girls Rock! which profiles Portland's Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, is finally being released on DVD this Tuesday.
For the week of April 15th, featuring the Heavy Hearts, the Gossip, the Kooks, M83, and more.
NME has posted their "Cool" findings for 2007 on their website and has opened the voting for the Readers' Top 10 on their website.
It's a great read when you're recovering from Bumbershoot or, like me, moving in 100F heat in California (and discovering your DVD player didn't survive the move).
We all remember the cover of NME with Beth Ditto nude on the cover, yes?
After making headlines (and heads turn) by her lack of clothing, Beth Ditto has decided to make headlines with her clothing.