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Carissa's Wierd Live Show Review The Crocodile

Carissa's Wierd: For the next 50 years we will still write you love songs

Shall I compare Carissa's Wierd to a Valentine's Day? They are more somber and more elegant.

Could there be a more perfect Valentine's Day show than Carissa's Wierd? Whether lonely-hearted or blissfully coupled or somewhere longingly in-between, igLiz and I both knew as soon as the show was announced that this was where we'd be spending the holiday of hearts.

Any regular readers of the site know that my adoration for this band has no bounds. They inspire hope, they comfort, they allow for the solace that only darkness can provide. For me, the music is incredibly personal and powerful, nearly sacred…

Live, this translates to either transcendently beautiful or painfully jarring, depending on whether 1) there are no sound difficulties and 2) whether the audience can just shut up and pay attention (see Graceland CD release party write-up for a full-on expression of my ire when the audience is non-cooperative).

But we're not here to talk of hatred now. It was the dia del amor, and this seemed to put everyone in a contemplative or swoony mood. The audience was ardently respectful, taking care not to gab over the exquisite silences or clink glasses over the heartbreakingly narrative vocals.  

Carissa's Wierd, Mat Brooke. Photo by Ryan Schierling.Plus they sounded even stronger and more confident live than I've ever heard them. Frontman Mat Brooke even stood the entire time, the vocals were louder, they smiled and they even dressed up for us. Decked out in ties and pressed shirts, they looked absolutely spiffy. There is little sexier than tattoos peeking out from dress shirts.

I'm not sure if it was the holiday or if their excitement about the fact that the next show they played would be on their NATIONAL tour, but it was the most comfortable and assured I've ever seen them. It is safe to say that this was my favorite of their performances.

I am not just saying that because I labeled them my Valentine's Day date, either. But now that I mention it, just for the record — if you've never done the "date with a band" thing before… you should. Being on a date with five people is great. It is usually someone else's turn to run to the bar and the conversation never gets boring.  

Carissa's Wierd, Jenn Ghetto. Photo by Ryan Schierling.Signs and swoons. The Carissa-ed violin resonated like heartbreak, and the keyboards echoed to hope. Was there anyone who didn't find some source of inspiration from this performance? If only I were a poet, I'd write an "Ode to Carissa" instead of some silly music review that will never do them justice. I'd write it in iambic pentameter, and it would make you yearn 'til your heart ached.

But since I'm not, I will instead provide some wise words from some of the cooler cats who we talked to at the show, as we weren't the only ones enamored with the Wierd ones that night… 

Fellow attendee and all-around super-guy Michael McGonigal (Sad Robot Records) said, "I fell back in love with Carissa's. They looked so nice, they played such a great show, I re-discovered them that night! I don't think I've ever seen them play that well ever before — their shit is SO TIGHT right now."

He continued on to say, "I would love to date the entire band, but of course that would not be cool — record label guy dates all five members of band on his label, people would be in an uproar. Because even though there is admittedly a LOT of Mike, clearly there is not enough Mike to go around, and that just wouldn't be fair, to any of them! It would be scandalous, to tease others so maliciously…"

What Mike doesn't realize is that he can't date the entire band because they were my date for the night. Sheesh! 

Other feedback we heard about Carissa + Valentine's Day…? When we asked our imaginary boy friends Greg and Tracy, they kinda looked at us with that look-thing they do before muttering something about another round and then staggering barside for more Jack and Cokes.

But we already know how those guys felt — they are such hard-core CW superfans they wouldn't miss a show, no matter if it was Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, or the eve of the birth of their first-born sons. So no further comments were needed, really.

Our newly-imaginary and new to the live CW experience friend "Lloyd" was overheard saying, "C.W.'s set was beautiful and tender…. the setting was quite romantic and perfectly suited for loving couples as well as new acquaintances. All in all, a great setting for a first date or V-day outing."

Aww, that's positively dreamy.

Imaginary photographer Ryan Schierling was so moved by the show he wrote us an entire article. And here we thought all he could do was take pretty pictures!

"I had every inclination to drink myself into an alternate universe on Feb. 14," he muttered, "But with In Praise of Folly, The Decemberists, The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd playing at The Crocodile that evening I decided to forgo the alcohol-fueled self-loathing pity party and shoot some photos. I could always drink myself into a loveless stupor the following night, right?"

That's the Valentine's spirit, Ryan!

Read all of Ryan's ramblings….  

Back to the show. Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard joined them onstage to cover an Avril Lavigne song. You know, that famous one, causing igDana to fall over herself in a libation-fueled pop-music-infatuation-haze to rush Ben post-show to tell him just how much she loooooves the new Postal Service CD. 

Carissa's Wierd, Jenn Ghetto. Photo by Ryan Schierling.Yeah, I'm sorry to say that's a true story. In a fit of post-show kissy-bliss, it suddenly seemed overwhelmingly crucial that I stop Ben, who was just minding his own business, and gush on and on {see Rhett Miller for further details on how mortifying this practice can be}. Luckily, Ben was as charming and gracious as I would expect him to be. He uses his powers for good, and this blathering idiot appreciates that.

{But can I mention one more time how much I really love that Postal Service CD?}

Know what else I love? I love that our local Carissa's Wierd has quite the national tour schedule planned, including a performance at SXSW at the end of March. Awww! I swell with hometown pride! They're touring with the Prom, and also playing several west coast dates with the Long Winters (we heart Barsuk!)… which just might be worth the cost of a plane/train ticket or a road trip… 

Categories
Carissa's Wierd In Praise of Folly Live Show Review The Crocodile The Decemberists The Prom

Cupid Rhymes with Stupid

A Very Crocodile V-Day synopsis: four bands, two imaginary girls, 148 photographs, three drinks, five cigarettes, and one torn-in-half heart on the mend.

I’d like to start out with a reminder that "Cupid" rhymes with "stupid," which should give a clear picture as to how I really feel about Valentine’s Day. Or, at the very least, this year's 'holiday' compared to previous years. Am I bitter? Fuck yes, I am. Deal with it.

I had every inclination to drink myself into an alternate universe on Feb. 14, but with In Praise of Folly, The Decemberists, The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd playing at The Crocodile that evening I decided to forgo the alcohol-fueled self-loathing pity party and shoot some photos. I could always drink myself into a loveless stupor the following night, right?

The Decemberists. Photo by Ryan Schierling.I’d seen In Praise of Folly, The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd the previous week in Anacortes, a short side-trip on the way home from Bellingham to visit an old high-school crush. It may have been the venue (The Department of Safety), it may have been the crowd (all-ages) or it may have been the air of apathy that one hundred high-schoolers seated cross-legged on the floor seems to bring to a LIVE MUSIC SHOW, but I really didn’t enjoy myself. This isn’t a movie. You don’t have to be quiet. And you certainly don’t have to feign a coma through some great sets. Not to take anything away from the Anacortes performances, which, as with the Valentine’s Day show at The Croc, were excellent. I just didn’t get that tingly feeling that you associate with seeing bands for the first time. (That’s right, for me, the first time.)

So. Speaking of tingly feelings — back to Valentine’s Day.

The Prom. Photo by Ryan Schierling.I met igLiz and igDana out front as In Praise of Folly were beginning their set. We guest-listed it into the show and in our different ways, went to work.

The wonderful thing about photographing live music is, well, I get to photograph live music. The drawback is, I don’t really get to enjoy the set as a fan would — aurally. I’m busy focusing on 1/100 of what’s going on. Tiny, intense visual moments — a lead singer’s facial expression, the follow-through on a nasty guitar downstroke, a drummer biting his lip with a rock-and-roll sneer as he pounds the crap out of his kit, smoke from the keyboard player’s cigarette wafting up around his head, perfectly illuminated by a blue stage light. To listeners, they amplify stage presence. To me, they constitute fractions of seconds I’ve either visually captured or missed, picture postcards that no one else takes home with them.

Ask me for intellectual comments on what I thought of the set, and you’ll get a laundry list of visual cues that most audience members don’t catch on to.

Carissa's Wierd. Photo by Ryan Schierling.You want text, a review of the show? I leave that to igLiz and igDana. I just shoot the photos. You’ll get my thousands of words in the form of colored pixels.

Which, on this Valentine's Day, was a wonderful distraction from feeling a little low, partnerless and in want of female companionship. And, I did get that nice tingly feeling watching them all play this time (especially The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd).

Just in case you were wondering.

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Aveo ballboy Bright Eyes Carissa's Wierd Cato Salsa Experience Cinerama (band) Clinic Coldplay Desaparecidos Earlimart Hoggboy Hypatia Lake Idlewild Imaginary Scoop mclusky Mooney Suzuki Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Okkervil River Peter Parker Pretty Girls Make Graves Robyn Hitchcock Sondre Lerche South Super Furry Animals The Division of Laura Lee The Drop The Hives The Liars The Long Winters The Malinks The Postal Service The Walkmen Tullycraft Ugly Casanova Yeek Yak Airforce

Imaginary '02 Recap!

Hey kids! It’s the end of ’02, so welcome to the first ever Imaginary Recap. Hold onto your seats kids, it’s gonna be a bumpy year-long ride of favorite, in triplicate. Because the best things always happen in threes (ho ho ho…)

{And yes, we have included shameless promotion links to our affliated Insound and Amazon affiliate programs, where you can listen or buy. So sue us. Or buy something, and help us support our excessive web page habits…}

Best Releases:

Ooh ooh! I know! Dana’s favorite three releases of the year are:

Hey! I didn’t say that! How did you know that?

 

Anyone who has been in your car knows. Hell, anyone who has ever read the site knows.

 

Oh god, am I *that* predictable? {don’t answer that}. Geesh. She’s right though, of course.

How about you, Liz?

OK. My favorite 2002 local releases are:

And my favorite 2002 Brit releases are:

Ooh yeah, I second the Clinic and South (and further nominate Clinic for the distinguished “Shortest show of the year” award, coming in under 40 minutes at their I-Spy show back in March.) And Doves The Last Broadcast. Mmmm, Doves.

Right. Back to me. My favorite 2002 New Yorker releases are:

…and my favorite 2002 Scandanavian releases are:

…and my favorite 2002 Welsh releases are:

Oh! And my favorite 2002 Nebraskan releases are:

You are out of control…

Most Extraordinary Live Shows:

My favorites…

Hmmm… my favorite live performances… this is so hard… can I break it down to local and non-local? I’ll say it really quickly before igDana has a chance to stop me… first… local:

And my favorite 2002 non-seattle-ite band music moments are:

Most Imaginary Moments:

Imaginary in Tablet!
Opening Tablet newspaper and finding that local artist – no, amazing local artist – Randy Wood had immortalized us, in comic form. I think we collectively took an entire trees worth of newspapers to send home to our Moms.

Imaginary on the Radio:
So I returned from my Spain trip and was spending a week with my folks in Florida, when I got an email from Marlene, telling me she had just heard (the ever-awesome) Sean Nelson talking about Three Imaginary Girls with (the ever-cutie) Drew Victor during his Audioasis. Sigh and pitter patter. What a thrill (and what a great welcome back into the country!)

Death Cab for Snooty
As you might recall, one of our pre-Death Cab for Cutie Bumbershoot performance activities was to approach a couple of guys in the beer garden who we mistook for two members of DCFC. Two months later a co-worker mentioned that he saw my picture on his friend’s website. He sent me the link and low and behold, there we were, with the caption: These girls approached me in the beer garden. They thought–no shit–that I was “Ben” from “Seattle Indie Legends” Death Cab for Cutie. I always suspected I looked like a rock star. See, I told you they were snooty!

Best Live Cover Song:

Goddamnit I love it when bands throw in a good live cover! I am sure that now, while I’m trying to recall my favorite, I am inadvertently overlooking some really, really good ones. But this is what I remember at this point, in no particular order…

  • Saeta covering the Magnetic Fields’ “Grand Canyon”
  • The Malinks covering Bell Biv Divoe’s “Poison”
  • Loveless covering Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything”
  • Robyn Hitchcock covering the Psychdelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You”
  • Beck covering the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?”
  • Carissa’s Wierd covering Morrissey’s “Suedehead”
  • Sleater Kinney covering The Doors “Hello I Love You”

OK, so I had a hard time sticking with the limit of three…

OK I choose…

  • Earlimart covering Wire’s “Strange”
  • Ryan Adams covering Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” {hee hee} – sidenote: that Ryan Adams is out of control. First he’s picking a fight with Rhett Miller, now with Jack White (White Stripes). I don’t like this Noel/Liam Gallagher thing he’s doing one bit.
  • M. Ward covering David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”

Best to watch for in 03

OK, so at the risk of sounding incredibly predictable (again), can I just insert my vote again for:

And thanks to a special imaginary friend, I have a an advance copy of this amazing up-coming on Sub Pop release called Postal Service. It’s Dntel (aka Jimmy Tamborello) and Death Cab cutie Ben Hibbard on vocals. electronica CD (due out on Sub Pop this spring). It’s dreeaamy good. As our representative of the indie-elektro community, Imaginary Boy Jason explained, “Jimmy and Ben worked on a track on Dntel’s last album (“Life is full of Possibilites“) and it appears they got along well enough to write an album together.”

There, that’s three (and then some). Liz, the rest is on you.

 

I second those, and wish to add:

  • Terror Sheets (first full length due out on Sad Robot, coming soon!)
  • Also, I know they’re already signed and released, but I’m looking forward to hearing more from Okkervil River. Their 2002 release was on my top 10 list (but I was only able to list three here… the horror)
  • And another signed and released group, LA’s Earlimart (who just rocked my little world opening for Rhett Miller this month).

Best Already Released International Album To Be Released in the US (and Immediately Purchased) in 03:

Ahh, this is easy…

Right. What she said. As I always say, never take an Imaginary Liz recommendation lightly…

2002 Sensations that We Don’t Get

You know how sometimes there can be a band and everyone just loves it and you listen and are just like… um. Hmm. Now the Girls don’t usually like to complain… but I have just two words to say. Coldplay. Yes, Coldplay. I don’t get it. I didn’t like “Yellow” and I haven’t really liked anything since. I don’t hate them… I just don’t get it. I must be missing an essential chromosome on my Britpop gene helix. Oh well.

 

This might earn me a whole buncha indie-wrath… but I’m going to have to fess up to Ugly Casanova. Don’t like ’em. I know, I know. Next thing you know I will confess my dislike for Sleater-Kinney and then it will all be over.

 

Best Three New Things Around Seattle We Wouldn’t Want to Enter ’03 Without

How many ways do we love this great city? But a few noteworthy mentionables…

  • Wireless internet access at the newly reopened Green Cat Cafe and Top Pot donuts.
  • Chop Suey, for great shows in our hood (read as: no need to park downtown)
  • Randy Wood sponsored One Night Only.
  • For awesome arty original clothes, Damsel Collective and Dumb Clothing
  • Karaoke at the Comet and Twilight Exit with Steve
  • Half price after 11pm Wasabi Bistro sushi.

And of course and most importantly, all of the readers, supporters, and contributors to Three Imaginary Girls. Ya’ll better stick around for 03; it’s gonna be the year to be imaginary…

Categories
Carissa's Wierd Graceland Live Show Review

Carissa's Wierd

you should be HATED here

First off: the Girls saw Carissa's Wierd twice this week. So if you haven't already read the review from the Sonic Boom Records show on Monday, go read it now.

It's far more focused on how goddamn sublime their new CD Songs About Leaving is, versus how annoying and distracting the crowd was at this show. In fact, you could just skip this review. Unless you enjoy obnoxious crowd stories centered around the titles of songs from their new album (and I ask, who doesn't??!?)

SILENTLY leaving the room

OK, audience members: if you're going to a Carissa's Wierd CD release party, you had better be a fan. And part of fan-dome for a band as luscious as Carissa's Wierd involves being QUIET during their set.

Carissa's Wierd's music soars and plunges, ranging from tumultuous layered rhythms to barely whispered hopes. It's all gorgeous and breathtaking… but not exactly overt. So chit-chatting during a Carissa's Wierd show is NOT acceptable. Please show CW some respect and SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!

so you wanna be a SUPERHERO

"I might be leaving soon…"
This song is one of my favorites from the new CD. Jenn Ghetto's voice sounds so haunted, so ghostly, so tremulous, she sounds nearly other-worldly, her connection here tenuous.

"just thoughts of how I might struggle through tomorrow.
too much time in one day too much time to occupy…"

Fans of Jenn's side project S will especially appreciate this track, as she recorded it on her four-track at her home (as the entire S album Sadstyle was recorded).

Unfortunately, the live version of the song was marred by the incredibly buzzing amp, which BUZZED in our direction the whole show, and was especially annoying and distracting during the quieter songs, such as this one. Argh, how I suffered.  

SEPTEMBER come take this heart away

"I hope the seasons treat you kind." 

The violin on this tune gets me every time.

Wait — did someone just say "Woo?" They did! I appreciate cheer and vocal enthusiasm as much as the next guy, but I can bet money that the next morning the individuals who yelled the aforementioned "Woo!" and "DRUM SOLO!" during this song were not only a bit dehydrated, but also were damning the individuals who yelled the aforementioned "Woo!" and "DRUM SOLO!" during this song.

IGNORANT piece of shit

"I like the way you rolled your eyes right before the fall…. down." This is my favorite Carissa's Wierd song (although on Tuesdays and bank holidays "They'll Only Miss You When You Leave" is my favorite). It is just genius how it builds from the unassuming, with the relentless Jenn picking on her guitar, holding the whole thing together only to hit a wall at the end — leaving me in utter bliss and lying in the floor in defeat. The ferocity at which she plays during this song is to be both feared and admired. I was so wrapped up in the moment that I was able to over look the crimes of my neighbors.  

the PIANO song

The piano song, the violin song… the instrumentation on this new CD is phenomenally exquisite. The piano is so humble, the violin is so sad… the effect is staggering.

No snotty comments here. Sublime.

they'll only MISS YOU when you leave

"try to find some friend between the lines at least now i can see… torn out pages don't know how i'll fall asleep tonight"

"Don't know how I'll fall asleep tonight.
outside the window awful weather.
the storm will slowly close in on me when its time to leave"

They played this song as an encore. Mat told us, "There's two ways to look at encores. You're either pompous for doing them or pompous for not." Then they played this song, an apt finale, ending with the chilling…

"When it's time to leave"
"When it's time to leave"
"When it's time to leave" 
 

a new HOLIDAY (november 16th)

"you'll be here."

November 16th is a holiday in Kentucky (it was on this day in 1907 that it entered the Union as the forty-sixth state), in Hawaii (only slightly though — the Oahu Railway and Land Company began operating on Hawaii's third largest island on this day in 1889) and in 1981 Luke married Laura on General Hospital (which means this is a national holiday for those who religiously spent the three o'clock hours indoors that year). And it's Imaginary Girl Marlene's brother Seth's birthday too. Is this useless and bothersome info? So was that conversation that the lady to the right of me was having with her escort. This is one of their shortest songs (1 min 50 sec in length), so at least the talkative couple had to take a break from their conversation to applaud as CW once again pulled off the understated majesty of this short song.  

FAREWELL to all those rotten teeth

To the pony-tailed lunkhead in the front row, the one who talked throughout the set while he groped his two female companions… the one who yelled "You fucking RAWK!!!!" to the band… some more friendly words from imaginary friend Greg:

"That guy needs to be beaten…
harshly…
in a dark alley…
for about 45 minutes."

sophisticated fuck princess please LEAVE ME alone

"so please just leave me the hell alone…
cause now i know this isn't at all right.
how much more times will i have to tell you?
you try to cry but it's just for show you know i know you know."

I would like to dedicate this song to the girl next to me, who stood in the front of the stage and talked ON HER CELL PHONE during the show. Her cell phone!! During Carissa's Wierd! Oh, the OUTRAGE! I burned with indignation.

At one point, Imaginary Boy Greg (also a HUGE Carissa's Wierd fan) wadded up a piece of paper from my pad and lobbed it at her head. And you know, it seemed to work for a little while. Perhaps next time he should use something a little heavier…

sophisticated MGD princess please HANG UP the phone!

low budget slow motion SOUNDTRACK song for the leaving scene

"where is your sweetheart who shelters her from the cold now?"

I was hoping that I would get this song to talk about. Rather than continue to point out the negative, I will wind down on the the positive tip. Every once in a while a perfect break-up song appears. This is one of them. Of course, every time this happens, I am in no situation to use it. Now I am old enough and wise enough to use it to my advantage. Rather than reserve it for therapy to recover from a broken heart, I use it as consolation that I don't have a broken heart. Ah, the sweet feeling of singleness.

(march 19th 1983) it was PROBABLY GREEN

None of this criticism has to do with the music, of course. It's absolutely reverent, a gorgeously mournful requim. Forget what we said about the annoying crowd, go buy the CD, and savour the sadness.

Categories
Carissa's Wierd Live Show Review Sonic Boom Records

Carissa's Wierd in-store

A new Carissa's Wierd CD! How great are CD release parties? Not only did we know we would get to (finally!) own the new Carissa's Wierd CD, but we also got to hear all the songs live first… I can't remember a happier Monday night.

During the first song, I found the sound a little too soft, and the traffic noises a bit too distracting. Carissa's Wierd have a sound so gentle that it doesn't translate well to a non-optimal sound setting. I needed to be enveloped in that magical grace that Carissa's Wierd creates… and because of this, background noises were jarring, traffic horns, abrasive. Even the crackle as I turned the pages in my notebook echoed loudly in my ears. When the band paused after the first song, the applause just burst forth. It was like people have been yearning for a chance to express gratitude to this amazing band. And CW responded in kind. Their sound got louder and less timid… and purrr…. we all got sucked into that lushly brooding CW vortex.

The audience was transfixed for the next 40 minutes, as we listened to them present the songs from their third release, Songs About Leaving.

I don't even understand how Carissa's Wierd could sound more sublime than their last album… but here it is for all to hear. They've retained every bit of their subtlety, their honest fragility, their humble ability to convey and evoke incredibly tender pains and particulars… and yet, they sound so much stronger and confident. They're still stepping forward gently and painstakingly, but they're so much more sure-footed than ever before. The addition of a bass guitar and a stronger drum has fortified their structure without sacrificing any of their delicacy.

And you know, I think they may know it. While part of Carissa's Wierd's charm lies in their self-effacing presence, it was nice to see them smiling, and even addressing the audience. "Thanks to all you people for coming out to see us tonight," said Mat Brooke, CW vocalist and acoustic guitar player. I think that's the longest utterance I've ever heard him say. Pure banter, by CW standards! They just possess such a quite and quiet elegance. They're music envelopes so it nearly coats, not in a sticky or cloying way, but like a warmth and a comfort. It's translucent and soothing, cradling. Damnit, it's evoking all these poetic words, but no poetry for me. It's just exquisite. Sarah Standard's violin is so fucking beautiful, you could cry.

I think I did cry.

Categories
Boxstep Carissa's Wierd Chop Suey Drew Victor Live Show Review Loveless Solstice

Carissa's Wierd: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Yes, the Three Imaginary Girls are such HUGE Carissa's Wierd fans that when we found out they were playing material from their upcoming release, we got tickets for both shows! Friday night they played at Chop Suey, Saturday night they played an all-ages show at the Paradox. Philadelphia band Boxstep played with them at both shows, with Loveless (not to be confused with the record label of the same name… or the album of the same name that inspired said record label) playing at the Friday show. And the biggest treat of all: the LONG WINTERS played at the Paradox show – a CW/LW double bill was good enough to get our old selves to the all-ages show on the Ave and rock out with the kids.

On the first night of the Carissa's Wierd double shot (aka at Chop Suey night) we missed the first of three openers. And of the two that we did see, I must admit that wasn't as impressed as my friends were. Opening band #2, Loveless, scored high in the LOUD department. You wouldn't think that a band who's name first creates a My Bloody Valentine warm and fuzzy feeling would sound like… well… they sounded like the early Spin Art Records band Lotion to me. Guitar, pizza-delivery guy male vocals, strong rhythm section. And that just wasn't what I was expecting.

Loveless impressed me with one of the greatest covers I've ever heard, Dramarama's "Anything, Anything," to close their rocking set. For that, I would forgive them any other indiscretion. Philadelphia's Boxstep were likewise charming, featuring not one but two violinists, a male and female vocalist, and catchy alternative bluegrass melodies. And the lead singer (who just happens to be adorable) also teaches English in upstate Philadelphia. How much cuter could that be? Interestingly, just looked up the Boxstep web site, and I see that they've opened for the Magnetic Fields, one of my all-time favorite musical acts ever, and the second best concert I've ever seen. Strong work, Boxstep!

Those Boxstep folks are nice people. As individuals they were they are good at what they do. Again, one of my friends ended up buying their CD as he was so impressed with their finer moments. Me, I was fine when I arrived too late to catch them at the show the next night. Then Carissa's Wierd took the stage at 12.40a. With a set comprised mostly of new stuff (from their soon-to-hit-the-record-store-racks 3rd album on the new Sad Robot label), they predictably left the place stunned and counting the days until the release of their album in July. I even think they might have smiled more on stage during that show than in any other show. {helpful Imaginary Girl aside: if you go to the Sad Robot site, you can hear MP3s from the forthcoming Carissa's Wierd release!}

Carissa's Wierd sound like swirling; a cornflower blue, ethereal, magical swirling of melodies, harmonies, rhythmic crescendos, haunting and understated lyrics and a million other components that this Imaginary Girl could never describe adequately without just playing the music. It's gorgeous, it's lovely; it's indescribable why these combinations of sounds and players create such lush enchantment.

At Friday's show, they kicked off with an old favorite "the color that your eyes change with the color of your hair" — and then launched into a set of new songs from their upcoming release. These songs were familiar, yet delightfully new, and they sounded less self-effacing and had fewer sound problems than I've ever heard at a live CW show. They sounded sonorous, likely in no small part because of the addition of both bass and slide guitar to the instrumentation, and the presence of Aveo drummer Jeff MacIsaac on, well, drums.

I can't wait to hear that new CD next month.

 

I can't wait to hear them again tomorrow night… But before we move on, I would be doing you all a disservice, dear readers, if I didn't tell you about the early set imaginary girl friend Marlene and I caught at the Solstice Cafe before I headed to Chop Suey: Drew Victor and Passing Friends. Yum! In Marlene's words, "Yes! Drew Victor: future hottie. Wait, current hottie, future superstar. So this boy is talented, and he backs up his delicate voice and sweet guitar with a stellar back up band: a collection of "passing friends." These friends include a keyboardist, drummer, bassist and — incongrously — a saxophonist. It's a rarity in indie pop these days, but it sure works very well with Drew's song styling.  When we entered, they were playing a somber song, gentle and emotive. After a few heartbreakingly sweet tunes, we got a treat: Drew "rocked out." Now, this isn't to say that his more Elliott Smith style songs aren't a treat, but when Drew and the band gt oloud it suddenly becames an attention grabber. His voice grew stronger, the band got more intense, and the sweet exterior cracked open to show a deeply passionate and intense band hiding beneath the surface. The contrast between the rockin' out songs and the softer ones surprises, but delights, and leaves you wondering what else to expect from this young but so-so interesting band."

In other words: Drew and the band demand your attention and they'll get it one way or another: either by making your heart sink during the softer songs, or by rocking your little world for a song or two. Let it be known that you heard it here first from the Imaginary Girls: Drew Victor and Passing Friends will be a future force in Seattle indie rock!

Now, onward to more shows!

Categories
Carissa's Wierd Live Show Review The Long Winters The Paradox

It Never Rains Enough to Cool My Fever

So I had a fever. It was 100.8 – a legitimate "Mom I need to stay home from school today" sickness. But the Long Winters! And Carissa's Wierd!! What's an imaginary girl to do? What would Sean Nelson do?

The irony of attending the show with fever proved too much to resist. It may never rain enough to cool my fever, but taking four Tylenols with a DayQuill chaser, that seemed to do the trick. "Medicine Cabinet Pirate," indeed! And I was not disappointed. The Long Winters just may be the most talented local band around.

They just write the most fantastic metaphors. I've been singing this one unreleased track that they played in my head ever since I heard it; it has an incredibly catchy melody and one of the greatest romantic longing metaphors I've heard in some time: "I'm waiting for you to throw more than… Shapes." Who isn't waiting for that? I just love it.

And I loved watching the show while seated in half-lotus on the floor of the Paradox. What a cool place. The Long Winters rocked my world. If these guys don't become famous, I shall weep and wail with sorrow that doesn't end. l

You said it, girlD! That Long Winters set made the all ages action at the Paradox really worth the price of admission. Yea, yea, everyone (and KEXP) has been telling me how great their new album is and how wonderful they are live — now I admit that I am behind the curve on this one. I left the venue convinced I had found my new favorite local band.

It is difficult to decide if the each song's strong points were the lyrics or the tight catchy melody. Ahh… puppy love is so fun.

They even shared trivia with us: John Roderick (the singer for the Long Winters) and Jeff MacIsaac (the new drummer for Carrissa's Wierd) used to play in a band together and once upon a time, they played the song "Mimi" with just drums and guitar one night, long ago, at the Rendezvous.

And yes, we did see Carissa's Wierd afterwards. They sounded hauntingly familiar (hmm, being that I had seen them less than 24 hours earlier), but could one ever tire of Carissa's Wierd? (the correct answer here being a resounding hell no!)