! = recommended
* = all-ages
Don't see your show on our calendar? Contact our calendar editor.
I hadn't paid too much attention to the music of Sia Furler until I started managing her home country, Australia, in the Pop World Cup. After going back and listening to her very good and breakthrough 2008 album Some People have Real Problems, I found myself impressed, but even more so with her next album, We Are Born.
We Are Born is scheduled for release in early June, but I've already gotten hooked on the first single, "Clap Your Hands". It's a deliciously fun bubblegum pop song with a chorus that gets stuck in your head for days, even if it is mostly repeating the title over and over again. The song, though, isn't as simple as it sounds, the bridge is particularly memorable and the production gives it a layer of sophistication that makes you think it's one of the best songs early in 2010 and should remain that way at least through the summer. That Perez Hilton also endorsed Sia's music is not her fault and certainly shouldn't be held against her.
Tonight, she'll be playing those songs live at the Showbox at the Market with Body Language (21+, $23) before finding her way down the west coast to the Coachella festival this weekend.
Next week (April 15 to be exact), the much-buzzed-about UK avant-pop act Florence and the Machine will be in town to surely please the audience at the Showbox at the Market.
As though it wasn't exciting enough, we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see Florence, along with a signed copy of her excellent debut album Lungs. If you want win this wonderful prize package, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before 9am on Monday, April 12 with "Florence's Lungs" in the subject line. The show is all ages, so anyone can enter.
Last night's Raphael Saadiq show was pretty amazing, truth be told. His band sounded great, covering hits by The Fifth Dimension, as well as spanning most of Saadiq's career. The crowd loved every second of it. It really was the type of show that people who weren't there should have made excuses to themselves for missing the show that was captivating nearly every second Saadiq was on stage.
Fortunately, the excellent photographer Jason Tang was on hand to capture the show with his SLR. Below are a few of my favorite photos of Saadiq and opener Anjulie:
In the days and weeks after Bumbershoot, the question of "who was the best act you saw [during the three day festival over Labor Day weekend]?" came up often and my answer was always Raphael Saadiq. The soul singer's two sets I saw (one being in the KEXP music lounge) were incredible to watch. He was backed by a tight (and sharply dressed) band playing some of the most irresistable funk and soul you're likely to here. He sounded sincere both when singing in lust like during "Let's Take a Walk" and paying tribute to victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
There can be parts of an artist’s story that makes any critic steer clear. In the case of Beardo, finding that he’s a white rapper who rolls with Mickey Avalon should be enough to make me pass on him and be held blameless. Yet, I took a chance to listen to a few songs after someone I trust recommended him by mentioning that he was the opening act on Snoop Dogg’s most recent tour and was compared him favorably to Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys (which I guess is a starting point for every Caucasian dude who thinks they can rhyme).
When you listen to Beardo’s music, you hear stories of LA junkies, lowlifes and losers mixed in with his own paranoia; drugs are often involved. After a few minutes spent with his single “John Lennon”, I found myself singing along with the ridiculous (and ridiculously catchy) chorus. Beardo’s music has a consistent narrative where his sleazy background and style gels with the ne’er-do-wells he rhymes about. Beardo puts the conversations you overhear at bus stops to a verse and his rough delivery fits with the scene he’s documenting. The beats Beardo uses are as sleazy as he probably is but they fit with what he’s getting across. “Snort Your Drugz” has him spitting out his own verses over the beat to MIA’s “Paper Planes”.
When I saw the thumbnail of this photo of outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels in the TIG Flickr pool, I thought the mayor was holding a tambourine. No, he's presenting an award at the first Seattle City of Music Awards at the Showbox to Fleet Foxes.
I couldn't make it to the awards show on Wednesday night and with Nickels losing his bid for a third term in the primary last month, I wondered if the next mayor will be in the same place next year handing out a similar award to another band. Nickels had a complex relationship with music and nightlife and his legacy will likely be mixed, but overall, it was mostly positive. Under Nickels' watch the Vera Project found a permanent home at Seattle Center, the restrictive Teen Dance Ordinance was overturned (a campaign promise he kept) and the City of Music Initiative was launched. The petty campaign against the Blue Moon Tavern and the indefensible "Operation Sobering Thought" sting (a fortunate failure) both likely originated from puritanical city attorney Tom Carr's office (who is up for reelection this fall).
...you might as well just stay in because it has been postponed due to illness. No reschedule date has been announced yet, but the official word is that one is forthcoming and your tickets for tonight will be honored.
If you want to see the very-sold out Passion Pit show at the Showbox on Sunday, we have a pair of tickets to give away to one of our lucky readers. The tickets literally just arrived in the mail, so there isn't much time. To win, just send an e-mail to email@example.com with "Passion" in the subject line and your mailing address in the body by 3pm today, Wednesday, October 7. We'll notify the winner shortly thereafter and I'll head to the post office immediately after that.
Perez Hilton’s leap into the music business is, in nearly every way imaginable, a complete failure. He was given his own imprint at Warner Brothers and thus far, his only signing was a French pop star named Sliimy, who was already on a European imprint of Warner – this meant that the former Mario Lavandeira turned catty gossip blogger has basically been used to give an American promotional boost to an artist already part of the label, not his own discovery. It’s looking more and more like a tax write-off than anything else. When Hilton got into a spat that turned modestly violent with Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am at a Canadian music awards show, he got little sympathy from any existing artists. In fact, quite the contrary, the most critical people were known musicians. Despite those setbacks (did I mention Black Book magazine pointed out that nearly every musician Hilton supported on his site was already written about favorably on the in the indispensible British music site PopJustice?), Hilton jumped in feet-first to promote his first musical tour.
Rip: A Remix Manifesto is a new-ish documentary film about the legality of remixes and mashups and features Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk as the poster child for open source licensing. Heading to Girl Talk's second Seattle show later tonight? Be an informed wild child and get a handle on the remix/mashup debate. There's some pretty good Girl Talk show footage, too.
Although the narrator has a strident tone at times, the documentary brings forward valuable insights and varying viewpoints on reuse and appropriation. Reuse and appropriation are not new nor the exclusive domain of music: Walt Disney appropriated the Buster Keaton character Steamboat Bill when creating his first Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie. In contemporary art, Yasumasa Morimura reinvents iconic art paintings and photographic images using subtle modification and not so subtle self-portrait elements.
Also appearing in the Rip documentary is one of my favorite authors and the technology culturist Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing). Doctorow is a strong supporter of creative commons licensing and many of his published books and short stories are freely available in various e-reader libraries.