Tonight in Seattle:  

Neptune Theater

Don't miss: Wavves and King Tuff at the Neptune Theater {Saturday, 10/19}

Wavves was formed in 2008 as the project of San Diego's Nathan Williams, after he quit his record store job. He recorded his first two releases -- 2008’s Wavves and 2009’s Wavvves -- in his bedroom, and both were somewhat lo-fi and fuzz-filled. (The distortion on the albums is so overriding, it’s almost hard to make out most of the lyrics, but despite the quality there are some good melodies hidden in those songs.) The albums received enough blog hype to garner the band spots on that summer's festival circuit, a small success that wound up leading to an unfortunate incident in 2009 at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain: Williams had taken a cocktail of Valium and ecstasy and had a meltdown on stage, fighting with his drummer and the crowd before ending the show and canceling the rest of the band’s European tour. What some thought at the time a cautionary tale of a young musician getting too much hype too soon turned out to be a turning point for Williams and for his musical project. Instead of devolving and letting his issues consume him, he started taking his work and his music more seriously, and doubled down on his efforts.

Following the public meltdown and subsequent loss of his drummer, he re-formed the backing band with the late Jay Reatard’s former band; drummer Billy Hayes and bassist Stephen Pope. Together they took their newly formed lineup out of the bedroom and into an actual hi-fi studio, and along with producer Dennis Herring recorded some of their best material to date, 2010’s King of the Beach. With it came a departure from most of the lo-fi fuzz and snotty skate-punk of their previous efforts -- now, Wavves had evolved their sound to include more accessible surf-pop gems alongside some dense psychedelic and occasional synth based songs.

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Recommended Show: Janeane Garofalo at The Neptune {4/11}

HOLD UP. Miss Janeane Garofalo is coming to The Neptune Thursday night and I didn't know until NOW? I am failing as a super-fan. 

I fell for Janeane in the 90s during her heyday -- loving her clever sarcasm to death right along with her blunt bangs, long dark hair, and quirky vintage style (best dance ever in Realty Bites. EVER). When Barbara Walters interviewed her, she said that Garofalo steals every movie scene she's in, and she's not lying. I own a copy of The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and I still maintain to this day that she was, is, and will always be hotter than Uma Thurman. But enough about my JG lust -- let's talk stand-up. 

This girl is funny. And I say that as someone who generally doesn't dig on stand-up. But I have a good feeling about this, you guys. Garofalo's got serious chops, and digging around on YouTube tells me she's just as awesome as ever. So I'll be blowing drinks out of my nose near the front of the stage this week. Come join me! 

{STG Presents Janeane Garofalo at The Neptune | Thursday, April 11 | Doors @ 7, Show @ 8 | All Ages, Bar w/I.D. | $22.50 adv, $25 day of} 

Idaho's Josh Ritter has the beat

Josh Ritter / photo: Laura Wilson{Josh Ritter plays the Neptune Theater Saturday, March 23}

Simple thing: Josh Ritter’s Beast in its Tracks is to today what Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years was to 1975. Yes, Ritter’s album comes in the wake of a divorce, and Still Crazy came after Simon's divorce, with his biggest hit, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Lest the eyes roll at the mention of Simon, remember: In the last 30 years, he’s proved a durable quantity at least three times: with Graceland, with the Lemonheads’ cover of “Mrs. Robinson,” and with “The Only Living Boy in New York” making a new, melancholic splash on the Garden State soundtrack.

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Built to Spill and Macklemore kick off Sasquatch! announcement party

at Neptune Theater

Spring is just around the corner, and with spring and summer comes the music festival circuit. Coachella recently announced some big names with Blur, the Stone Roses, and New Order set to play the California festival, so anticipation has been high for what Sasquatch would roll out. Monday night’s Sasquatch! Launch Party ended all the speculation with the announcement of a stellar lineup, but not before kicking the whole thing off with a killer show at the Neptune Theater.

Cody ChesnuTT started off the night with his own brand of high energy soul/funk/R&B. Wearing what appeared to be an army helmet, ChesnuTT had the crowd singing along as he bounced from one side of the stage to the other, his backing band sounding incredible. After a short video from Ron Swanson estowing the virtues of the festival “Thunder Closet," it was time for the 'special guest.'

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Latest comment by: Dead C: "Macklemore actually wasn't wearing a denim jacket at all. Also, Brett Netson sang the Beefheart cover."

Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Neptune

at Neptune Theater

For decades, the required experiences when visiting New Orleans have included: a trip to Café du Monde for beignets, bar hopping on Bourbon Street, and catching a show at Preservation Hall. While I did miss the beignets, we Seattle folk only had to travel as far as the U District for the treat of listening to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and their traditional New Orleans sound.

Jumping right in with a string of quick-tempo instrumental numbers including “Bourbon Street Parade,” the group blew us all away with the power of their unamplified sound. Making the rounds on solos, the individual members had the opportunity to shine and they egged each other on by both the shouting of encouragement and by raucous clapping. Band leader and trumpet player Mark Braud almost melted my face off with his blistering Satchmo-style solo.

This band has been around and touring for over forty years -- but the songs never sound dated or stale, in part due to the energy and craftsmanship that rotating members invest in the music. They’ve perfected the vintage New Orleans jazz sound but also add hints of soul and R&B rhythms. Clarinet player Charlie Gabriel, a fourth generation musician whose family has been playing music in New Orleans since the 1850s, impressed with both his bluesy solos and exuberance. Providing vocals on several songs, his voice was like a well balanced mix of Billy Eckstine and Ray Charles.

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Recommended Show: Washed Out and Memoryhouse at the Neptune Theater {5/2}

{Washed Out}

Just as we've started to get that ever-elusive sunny weather in Seattle, the perfect, laid-back, blissful sounds of Washed Out come through town next week. They'll be playing at the Neptune on May 2nd with Memoryhouse, and we can't hardly wait!

Washed Out is the project of musician and producer Ernest Greene, whose foray into music started innocently enough at his family's home in the small town of Perry, Georgia. He first gained recognition from songs he put up on his MySpace page in 2009, and athough he was writing music several years before that, those songs were the first he ever shared. Several of those songs made it on his Life of Leisure EP. The most recognizable song from this early release, "Feel It All Around", eventually ended up as the theme song for the popular IFC comedy Portlandia. At that time, his live show consisted of mostly Greene with a laptop before eventually adding a small backing band. 

For his 2011 Sub Pop debut full-length release Within and Without, Greene moved away from some of the occasionally sampled material that made up Life of Leisure, and instead focused more on original compositions. The result was one of 2011's finer albums; a masterful blend of uptempo dreamy pop ("Eyes Be Closed," "Amor Fait") and hazy, laid back bliss ("Before," "You and I"). When Washed Out played at the Neptune Theater this past October, Greene was joined on stage by a fully-formed live band, including his wife Blair. At times, Washed Out's recorded sound can often feel like the perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer day, their live show is much more lively, with Greene often imploring the audience to dance along. 

Opening the show is a fellow Sub Pop act, Canadian duo Memoryhouse. Initially formed as a multi-media outlet between composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion, the collaboration originated as the idea of Abeele's compositions being the backdrop for Nouvion's photographs and movies, and this past February they released their debut album The Slideshow Effect to much acclaim.

Unfortunately, last week after a show in Washington, D.C., Memoryhouse had their van broken into and a good portion of their gear stolen. They cancelled their shows in Philadelphia and Boston as a result and are taking donations to try and get back on their feet to continue on with their tour alongside Washed Out. If you'd like to help them out, you can donate on their website.

{7p doors, 8p show / all ages / $16 / Memoryhouse opens. Photo courtesy of Washed Out's MySpace page.}