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You could probably be forgiven if the first time you thought of Seattle as having a vibrant music scene was when MTV first aired "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Thanks to an engrossing new documentary from first time feature director Jennifer Maas called Wheedle's Groove that just played at the Seattle International Film Festival, you learn an awful lot about the thriving soul and funk scene from Seattle in the 1960s and '70s. While few of the artists are remembered today and fewer broke out of this particular scene, it was thriving because there were a lot of clubs booking these bands and they were playing several nights and week to large crowds.
The Wheedle's Groove project was first a compilation album from local buried treasure-finders Light in the Attic Records that they put out in 2004, featuring bands like Cold, Bold and Together, A Black On White Affair and Ron Buford. They aren't household names today, but the compilation has sparked a renaissance of interest in this time and it has spawned a supergroup of sorts from this era who play and record as Wheedle's Groove and released an album of new music in 2009 called Kearney Barton. When I interviewed director Maas at SIFF, she told me how the idea for this documentary came about. "I was doing a documentary, I was pretty new to making documentaries but I made a lot of short things, I decided I was going to find out how a music scene works behind the scenes. I started interviewing people like John Richards and Jason (Hughes) from Sonic Boom, different record labels. I was going to interview some of the Three Imaginary Girls, although I don't know that I did. I think I planned that interview but I don't think it ended up happening." It changed, she said, when "I ended up interviewing Matt Sullivan at Light in the Attic. They were just about to put out this compilation of soul music from the 60s and 70s in Seattle called Wheedle's Groove. I instantly decided that was the movie I needed to make instead of the one I had been making. There was a record release party (at Chop Suey) and I showed up there with a bunch of cameras and then here we are, five years later." It should be noted that she and Sullivan also married in that time.
Here is a little free association test for you: When you hear the expression "competitive eating," what comes to mind?
If the answer wasn't a Mexican Elvis impersonator, well, you're probably not the only one, but it feels kind of appropriate, no?
Indie record label Light in the Attic is hosting their 3rd annual donut eating contest on Saturday, August 1st at 1p at Top Pot Doughnuts (5th Avenue location). This event is free to the public. There are a few fun and exciting changes this year for participants and cheerleaders alike, including the participation of four other record labels (Barsuk, Sub Pop, Suicide Squeeze, and Hardly Art).
The name of the game is doughnut eating, and apparently this will be a tag team-type affair. Volunteers from the audience will be selected at random and teamed up with one of the five label representatives to scoff down as many rings of fried deliciousness as possible.
The folks from Light in the Attic are going on a road trip, which began Monday morning in Seattle (at Easy Street Records) and will hit 50 total record stores in the next 10 days, selling Light in the Attic releases along the way. They are borrowing the tour van of Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, which may or may not have working seatbelts.
The Saturday Knights premiered a new video to their single "Count it Off" last week at SXSW.
With its far-reaching inspiration touching everything from the quintessential rap of De La Soul and The Beatnuts to like-minded and eclectic singer-songwriter Beck, Nelson continues to entrance.
Free tickets, free signed poster, yo.
The kind folks at the band's label (Light in the Attic) have made the record available for free download. The artwork for the free download promotion is pretty damn funny, too.