Categories
Crater David Bazan Death Cab for Cutie Deep Sea Diver Dude York Great Grandpa Lemolo Posse TacocaT Wimps

The Top Seattle Albums of the 2010s

Look, there’s no way to properly do this list. And that’s why Seattle’s music scene is so wonderful.

I’ve been utterly awash in Seattle music since moving to the city in 2011 (and then serving a couple of stints running arts departments at local publications. Trying to sum up a decade’s worth of beautiful and wildly different sonic shades and colors is a fool’s errand. And I am certainly a fool.

This city puts out So. Much. Good. Music.

For this exercise, I’ve put together the 15 local albums from the 2010s that I think are brilliant in differing ways. But that didn’t feel complete enough; so made an honorable mention list to encapsulate a top 50 of the decade. But even that didn’t feel complete enough for the city, because this list so dependent on my own personal taste (not Three Imaginary Girls as a whole, they’re just kind enough to host my ramblings).

But that’s the most beautiful thing about Seattle. You could make entire lists of stuff I didn’t even list. For me, the major theme of the decade in Seattle music has been the female-led indie/punk scene and it’s overflowing cup of artistic riches. But someone could go another direction and be totally correct. Maybe you’d include some of the heavy-hitters (Pearl Jam, The Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, Brandi Carlile, Odesza – some of which are covered in my list of “The 10 Most Significant Seattle Albums of the 2010s”). Maybe you’d toss in different hip-hop (OC Notes, The Physics, Dave B, Sol, Brothers from Anther). Maybe you’d highlight more locals on the bigger Seattle labels (Hibou, Porter Ray, Seapony). Maybe you have different folk-y tastes (The Moondoggies, Sera Cahoone, Noah Gundersen, Courtney Marie Andrews, Kris Orlowski) or indie favs (Telekinesis, Kithkin, Cumulus, Cataldo, Sisters, Prom Queen, Stickers, The Lonely Forrest). Maybe you (bizarrely) consider Anacortes part of Seattle (Mount Eerie). Whatever the case, the Seattle music scene is robust enough for a myriad of valid picks (including scores that appear nowhere in this article).

So if nothing else, take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are to have this soundtrack playing in our backyards.

Honorable Mention Top 50

Teens of Denial – Car Seat Headrest
Time to Go Home – Chastity Belt
The Horizon Just Laughed – Damien Jurado
Third Daughter – DoNormaal
Dehumanize – Dude York
Falling – Dude York
Touch Screens – Erik Blood
Die Alone – Gazebos
Four of Arrows – Great Grandpa
Whatever Will Happen – iji
Even the Sun Will Burn – Iska Dhaaf
Single Rider – Jenn Champion
One Christmas at a Time – Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick
It’s Alive – La Luz
Adult Teen – Lisa Prank
The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
OMNI – Minus the Bear
Assholes EP – Mommy Long Legs
Life Rips – Mommy Long Legs
Duo – Onry Ozzborn
Too Bright – Perfume Genius
Can’t Talk Medicine – Pickwick
Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True – Pony Time
Hospital Handshakes – Rocky Votolato
Bleeders Digest – Say Hi
The Make It All Show – Skating Polly
Berio: Sinfonia; Boulez: Notations I-IV; Ravel: La Valse – Seattle Symphony
Black Up – Shabazz Palaces
The Man Who Made Himself a Name – Shelby Earl
Swift Arrows – Shelby Earl
Lost Time – TacocaT
Fog on the Lens – Tomo Nakayama
EarthEE – THEESatisfaction
Skin –Wild Powwers
You’re a Shooting Star, I’m a Sinking Ship – Whitney Ballen

15. Be True – Sloucher (2018)

Out of every Seattle release put out this decade, Be True might be the most balanced. While other record have higher peaks, Sloucher’s first LP has no valleys. And that’s quite the admirable feat.

Tapping heavily into ’90s indie rock and power pop, Be True hums along with a seemingly effortless casual cool without ever feeling like rehashed nostalgia. Sloucher breezes through upbeat jaunts (“Be True,” “Up and Down”), playful slacker riff reflections (“Cloverdale”), and heavier creeping numbers (“Waiting to Start”) without ever missing a step. The songwriting by frontman Jay Clancy keeps things fresh from track-to-track, as he delivers a worldview that’s both realistically unvarnished but also not devoid of a tiny spark of hope that being true will win out in the end.

 

14. Kintsugi – Death Cab for Cutie (2015)

After vaulting to the top of Seattle’s rock scene in the prior decade with a practically unparalleled run of stellar indie rock albums, the 2010s proved much rockier footing for Death Cab for Cutie. It started when 2011’s Codes and Keys dropped and pretty instantaneously became the group’s first polarizing record. But the moment that really shook the foundation of DCFC came in 2014, when founding guitarist/producer Chris Walla left the band after finishing recording Kintsugi (the first Death Cab album he didn’t produce). While the band has been an undeniably different entity since that departure, at least Kintsugi wasn’t a sour note of a farewell.

The album begins with one of the best starting runs on any Death Cab album, courtesy the 1-2-3 punch of the brightly twittering “No Room in Frame,” the moody plodding of “Black Sun,” and the veteran riff and rhythm swagger of Kintsugi‘s best track, “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive.” Ben Gibbard spends much of the album hashing out his disenchantment with the Hollywood lifestyle in the aftermath of his celebrity marriage to Zoey Deschanel. While that might not sound like solid and relatable lyrical footing, Gibbard’s wordsmithery manages to fall on the side of clever curtness rather than venomous venting. While the energy dips after the white-hot intro, earworms still abound on slower tempo tracks like “You’ve Haunted Me All My Life” and “Little Wanderer.” The outlier in the more somber pace comes via “Good Help (Is So Hard to Find,” perhaps the danciest track in the Death Cab oeuvre.

It may have broken Death Cab for Cutie, but much like it’s shattered pottery namesake, there’s plenty of beauty still to be found in Kintsugi.

13. The Kaleidoscope – Lemolo (2012)

Floating onto the scene with an ethereal air, Lemolo delivered a dose of dream pop serenity on its debut, The Kaleidoscope.

Buoyed by Meagan Grandall’s knack for layering her own sounds – be they weightless self-harmonies, soothing piano lines, or guitar riffs capable of switching from light sparse picking to thunderous crashing waves of chords in a matter of mere moments – the album immediately carves out the band’s signature sound. Additional credit to drummer Kendra Cox for providing a percussive background that adapts fluidly to each song’s dramatic build.

Together the duo excels both at bright tunes that capture the majestic spirit of the Puget Sound in its hopeful beauty (“Open Air,” “Beautiful Knight”) and songs with haunting dark undertones (“The Knife,” “On Again, Off Again”) while seeming equally natural in either environment.

12. Plastic Cough – Great Grandpa (2017)

It’s magical when an album-opening song can hit you with such an electric jolt that it entirely changes how you think about a band. Before listening to Plastic Cough, Great Grandpa could’ve been mistaken for just another run-of-the-mill Seattle band that was getting a bit of buzz. You could see them live and not fully “get it.” But halfway through listening to “Teen Challenge”? It’s an immediate, “Oh, this band is gonna matter.”

From the jump, Plastic Cough grabs listeners by the lapels and shakes them to attention with emotional honesty. Led by Alex Menne’s commanding voice – which can swing from piercing yelps to delicate pleas in a single breath – Great Grandpa crafts an album that excels in moments moments of howling punky passion (“NO”) and contemplative reflection (“All Thin g Must Behave / Eternal Friend”). There’s an unnatural maturity to both the sober lyricism and musical arrangements while still boasting a thriving youthful energy. It’s the kind of album that imbues you with hope regarding the city’s creative future.

(And, honestly? Great Grandpa‘s follow-up, Four of Arrows, is the best local album of 2019 and might deserve a spot on the Top 15. But it’s only been out for a couple of months, so it’s impossible at the moment to know if its lasting resonance will hold up… but it probably will.)

11. Strange Negotiations – David Bazan (2011)

If you don’t think David Bazan saw all of this (//gestures wildly at everything terrible in the world) coming, you should probably relisten to Strange Negotiations.

Following the falling-from-the-flock brilliance of Curse Your Branches, Bazan turned his songwriting sights away from direct reflections on religion to hone in on some of society’s larger troubles and how they manifest on a micro-level in our own relationships.

Never one to hide his feelings, things get started on a deliciously unsubtle note with “Wolves at the Door,” a screed against hucksters and the dupes that continually let them in and ruin our lives (it’s basically the 2016 Trump campaign in song-form before Obama had even been elected a second time). Gloriously rocking out while examining self-delusion continues in full force on tracks that pack a musical punch like “Level with Yourself” and “People.” But in typical Bazan style, Strange Negotiations isn’t confined solely to full-throated proselytizing. He strips things back cuts to raw emotional cores on solemn tunes about relationships strained by distance (chiefly his own due to his house touring lifestyle; “Won’t Let Go”)  and quiet moments with friends who have passed on (“Virginia”).

The album’s title track splits the difference between the two spectrums. Over guitar chords that barely feel held together by a steady beat and moaning key swells, Bazan employs the second person to achingly bemoan an existence built on narrow-sighted and destructive greed in a way that makes the listener question whether he’s singing about an individual or the capitalist system (or if there’s really any meaningful distinction between the two at this point).

Strange Negotiations isn’t an easy listen, but if the artistry on display doesn’t sting your soul at least a little bit, then you’ve got some serious reflecting to do.

10. Soft Opening – Posse (2014)

While there’s been no shortage of quality slacker indie rock coming out of Seattle (see: Chastity Belt’s whole discography, #15 on this list, etc.), nobody did it better over the course of an entire LP than Posse did on Soft Opening.

It all starts with the distinct vibes of the trio’s instrumentation which always feels like an improvised afternoon jam, drifting along in an artful haze without ever coming across as meandering or random. The vocal mix of Sasha Maxim’s calm, soft tones and Paul Wittmann-Todd’s seemingly off-the-cuff flat-toned delivery blend together to form an unusually appealing audio blanket of ease. Many of the lyrics lean into an aimless intellectual sensibility on tracks like “Cassandra B.” and “Interesting Thing No. 2,” and even when there’s a bit more mildly angry tension on songs like “Zone” or “Shut Up,” there’s still enough casualness to the singing that it doesn’t throw the listener. There’s not a lot of indie rock music that can evoke slipping into an almost meditative trance, but this album qualifies. The success of Soft Opening that it sounds like Posse put almost no effort into making an incredibly honed collection of songs.

9. Women’s Rights – Childbirth (2015)

The most undervalued songwriting skill is satire. The ability to be legitimately funny in a tune without being a comedy act is hard enough, but using the jokes as social commentary? You might be able to count the number of artists that truly do that effectively on one hand. Childbirth is one of them, and the atypical mixture of cutting feminism and ridiculously silly fun on Women’s Rights can’t be topped.

The local supergroup of Chastity Belt frontwoman Juila Shapiro, TacocaT bassist Bree McKenna, and Pony Time drummer Stacy Peck take delicious aim at a slew of targets ripe for mocking, and attack with a catchy punk melodic sensibility. You can hear the dryly-delivered eye-rolls in Shaprio’s voice as she gleefully cuts the knees out from under tech bros (“Tech Bro,” obviously), vapid bands (“Breast Coast (Hangin’ Out)”), tired female archetypes (“Let’s Be Bad”), and unaccepting loved ones (“Since When Are You Gay?”). These “Nasty Grrls” delight in being unkempt vessels of chaos, but are equally not afraid to get deliberately silly on the social dating app ode “Siri, Open Tinder” or the as-mindless-as-it-sounds “Will You Let the Dogs In?”

In the end, it’s not important how you get your message across as long as its being received. On Women’s Rights, Childbirth just decides to deliver their points with a laugh to maximize their own entertainment.

8. Repeat – Wimps (2013)

Repeat manages to be both no-nonsense and all-nonsense punk at the exact same time. Wimps’ debut LP crams 12 frenetic songs about sleeping, eating, complaining, and – of course – aliens into 24 blistering and blissed-out minutes.

The trio packs catchy melodies into each bite-sized musical morsel, but what really makes Repeat go down so smooth is the pure relatable simplicity of the songwriting. The drama investment of each Rachel Ratner-sung ditty remains willfully low-stakes and silly throughout with the overarching emotion being a humdrum frustration that is actually universal. We’ve all “Slept in Late,” had days where all we wanta do is “Nap,” or consumed some highly questionable “Old Food” from the back corner of our fridges. When it’s broken down that basically and presented with bouncy glee, only a true grump could not have a blast with Wimps’ fully inclusionary punk.

7. History Speaks – Deep Sea Diver (2012)

In terms of instantly accessible pure musicianship, it’s hard to come up with many Seattle records that can top History Speaks. If frontwoman Jessica Dobson isn’t the city’s best guitarist, she’s definitely at the top of the conversation (and her bandmate/husband Peter Mansen fits into the parallel drummer conversation). With that stellar skill base, Deep Sea Diver crafts a brilliantly diverse soundscape on its first LP.

The album draws the listener in immediately with the hooky and coy staccato riff and syncopated rim clink rhythms of “Ships,” a song awash in lost love metaphors of ships adrift. “You Go Running” crosses shredding guitar, ’80s Latin dance-pop, and calypso grooves in a radiant burst of bliss. Dobson’s emotionally-charged laments ring pure and true whether accompanied by her own tricky finger-picking (“Tracks of the Green Line”) or whiskey-and-saxophone soaked keys (“The Watchmen”). And backed by an elite Mansen beat (my favorite local one of the decade), the piano-driven “NWO” builds into a downright anthemic ode to the strength of a loving bond in the face of world’s ills.

History Speaks is the type of invigorating album that people who bemoan there being “no new good rock records anymore” would absolutely love if they burned as many calories seeking out new music as they do complaining.

6. NVM – TacocaT (2014)

When it came to making the local music scene fun in the 2010s, nobody can touch TacocaT. The pop-punk quartet turned every show and album into a party for everyone to enjoy. And NVM remains the group’s most boisterous party to date.

Everything about the album funnels into a feeling of a candy-coated treat. Singer Emily Nokes leads the way with sugary vocals (which can aptly turn sour when raging) and the constant cheerful jangle of her tambourine. Armed her effervescent attitude and bouncy backing instrumentals, TacocaT is able to turn period days into surf rock beach hangs (“Crimson Wave”), rainy days into sunny dreams (“Bridge to Hawaii”), and still have time to spit venom at catcalling street harassers (“Hey Girl”). The album also taps into some deep-seated Seattle-specific truths, like our inability to handle winter weather (“Snow Day”) and most everyone’s least favorite King County Metro bus line (“F.U. #8”).

While it didn’t have the national impact of that other NVM album to come out of Seattle (the non-chatspeak one), we’re okay with this being a smaller, more manageable, but no less enjoyable party.

5. Doom Loop – Mansions (2013)

While Mansions remain relative musical hermits of the local scene compared to all the other bands on this list, Doom Loop tapped into some of the classic Seattle musical hallmarks better than anyone else. While a far cry from grunge, the album is unabashedly fuzzy, intelligently angsty, and expertly maneuvers soft verse/loud chorus formula.

Hitting like a ton of bricks after a mere beat, the shredding album-opener “Climbers” quickly establishes just how massive a wall of guitar sound is in store for listeners. There’s an explosiveness to both the soundscape and frontman Christopher Browder singing, making it feel like the proverbial bomb could drop at any moment. The songwriting dwells heavily on the mistrust beneath the surface strained and shattered relationships (not necessarily the romantic type), and Browder milks the spiteful bite out of every syllable on tunes like “Two Suits” and “Out for Blood.” There’s also room for some juicy bad trip lyricism to be sprinkled in via songs like “Flowers in My Teeth” and “La Dentista.” Robin Dove helps maintain an almost oppressive air to the unrelenting exasperation through thunderously thumping bass lines. Still, in the brief moments of respite Browder’s voice to strains with emotive delicacy that affairs Doom Loop‘s humanity in the face of its wonderfully Goliath presentation.

4. American Soft – Chris Staples (2014)

Seattle is lousy with masterful singer-songwriters, so Chris Staples ability to stand out from the pack with American Soft is a telling accomplishment. The 10 songs found on the album are crafted with the to-the-shaving touch of a master carpenter.

There’s a subtlety to the whole package. That starts with Staples’s voice, which downplays dynamics to stick to a soothing coo. That demureness and mostly straightforward acoustic rock instrumentation are however counterbalanced by Staples uncanny ability to write infectious grooves with these typically ungroovy tools. The hushed hooks and unshowy-but-effective percussive flairs on songs like “Black Tornado” and “Grand Coulee Band” make them downright dance-worthy. But even when things are more stripped back, Staples can still blow you away with melodic sincerity on “Dark Side of the Moon.”

The most striking (and perhaps inviting) aspect of Staples’s songwriting comes from the album’s lyrical acceptance. The album sidesteps drama to take life as it is. There’s plenty of cloudy corners to be found in the undertones of distant longing, but it’s counterbalanced by a understated plucky optimism. It all leads to American Soft boasting a peaceful, almost meditative calm in moments where a lesser songwriter would’ve leaned into sorrow or hope (perhaps best expressed on “Overpaid”: “Well it wasn’t like you said / So I’m free-associating / Just to find the common thread”). (Musically this sense is channeled in the instrumental “Wurlitzer.”) The songs roll over the listener with a comforting blanket of catchy tranquility (or in the case of “Early Bird Tavern,” the jukebox playing your favorite Tom Petty songs) as if to say, “Everything might not be okay, but it’s gonna be okay.”

3. Sincerely – Dude York (2017)

There’s something to be said for exuberance. In an increasingly dark world, blissful ignorance isn’t desirable, but taking things on with an energetic zeal proves to be a wonderfully non-defeatist approach. More kinetic and bubblier than a dropped and dented can of LaCroix, Dude York’s Sincerely provides track after track of effervescent pop-rock that refuses the let listeners lull.

From the opening riffs of the manga-themed “Black Jack,” the musical jubilance is on full display. While Peter Richards might be yelping his feelings about therapy (“The Way I Feel”), feelings of isolation (“Giving Up”), or anxiety (“Paralyzed”), the instrumentation is never down in the dumps. Instead, it skates the thin line between pop-punk and power pop with a razor-edged grace. Richards displays a stylistic diversity that gives pep to the whole album: from the stripped-down plucking of “Time’s Not on My Side” to the extended and massive layered shredding showcase on the outro to “Paralyzed.” Andrew Hall also flashes the ace fill work which makes him one of the city’s most underappreciated drummers.

But the real jolt to the Dude York mix on Sincerely comes when bassist Claire England takes over lead vocal duties (something she hadn’t done on the band’s first LP, Dehumanize). To put in frankly, England has the best pop-rock sensibility in town this side of Ben Gibbard. Both “Love Is” and “Tonight” burst at the seams with instantly captivating vitality and triumphantly empowering “I’m done wasting time on this relationship B.S.” lyricism (the later might just straight up be the best Seattle single of the 2010s).

Through the sheer force of will and genuine sincerity, Dude York manages to turn even the roughest spots into uplifting musical moments on Sincerely.

2. Talk to Me So I Can Fall Asleep – Crater (2016)

No Seattle album from this decade sounded bigger than Talk to Me So I Can Fall Asleep. To listen to Crater’s electronic pop-rock masterwork through headphones is to be transported into an entirely different aural realm of digital isolation with faint flickerings of human warmth in the distance. Considering that’s also a good way to sum up the feeling of actually living through the 2010s, it is fair to say the duo hit on a zeitgeist idea early (even if the actual zeitgeist didn’t take note of it).

The throbbing digital heartbeat of the album quickly shows itself on “Crater Head,” as thumping bass and electronic drums establish a palate that’s equal parts sleek and grimy in its synthetic disposition. With each passing track, the listener feels more and more like they’re sinking into an unsettling underbelly where the only thing keeping the faintest connection to humanity are the voices of Cecilia Gomez and Kessiah Gordon. But there’s an allure to the sonic darkness the pair weave; while the soundscape can feel oppressive and cold, the melodic undercurrent makes for a grim dance grind.

Gomez’s vocals have just enough soothing tones to counterbalance the electronic violence that surrounds her. Gomez mirrors the feeling of listening to the album, always searching for solid footing where there’s none to be found; straining herself to make sense of this electronic world around her. It can be unnerving the way Gordon holds the repeated syllables of “skin” on “Summer Skin,” but Gomez always conveys that there my be hope of escaping this digital wasteland; always grasping for that moment of fleeting connection.

Talk to Me So I Can Fall Asleep ends up being a triumph in the same manner as the best science fiction creations. It simultaneously feels utterly gorgeous and dystopian; engrossing and distant; sophisticated and tapping into something basal; ahead of its time and startlingly reflective of the moment of its creation.

1. Cool Choices – S (2014)

Sometimes we all just need a good cry.

The reason Cool Choices stands apart from the rest of Seattle’s musical output from the 2010s is its focused cohesion. Simply put: It’s the best breakup album of the decade. It never deviates from that idea and drills down to specific in a way that’s both cutting and cathartic.

The tone is set from the very first line as Jenn Champion sings, “This is how losers feel / I am a loser,” over piano chords so faint that you can practically hear her summoning up the courage to actually depress the keys. Champion lays her heart utterly bare over the course of 12 tracks that detail all the ugliest thoughts that consume anyone who’s gone through a bad breakup. There’s the self-loathing belief that you deserve this (“Losers”), the fight to stay strong when you’re at your weakest (“Like Gangbusters!”), the suck of loneliness (“Vampires”), the unkind emotional games exes play (“Brunch”), fixating on your ex as the only reference point for relationships (“Remember Love”), and the impossible search for clean-cut finality post-breakup (“Tell Me,” “Balderdash”). All the while, Champion’s poetic but straightforward songwriting remains amazingly raw and unvarnished, feeling like any sung note could quiver, break, and lead to an instant flood of tears.

With the rest of the S band (guitarist Carrie Murphy, bassist Betsy Olson, and drummer Zachary McNutty) aiding her crushing journey, she’s able to craft an indie rock instrumental palate that bolsters the emo resonance of each track. There’s just enough hooky diversity to make each chorus an earworm unto itself, and Champion even gives into her electropop inklings for the choreography-worthy “Tell Me.” Chris Walla’s production also makes the album feel incredibly polished without needing excessive layering, allowing the songs to maintain their lo-fi intimacy.

As the bummer proceedings wind to an end, the album-closing “Let the Light In” offers one last gut-punch. As an atmospheric synth swells pound the musical coastline, the waves part just long enough for Champion to deliver this closing salvo: “This was how I thought I’d get over you / I’d write it all down like it makes this true / Let go of the things that you said to me / And now in the end I can feel so free.” But as it seems that we’ve reached the emotional pit and darkness has enveloped all our potential for love and happiness, a counter-voice coos out: “Think you can’t go on / You can / Let the light in.” It’s the moment of hope in a sonic sea of despair.

Cool Choices: Cause if you’re gonna cry, you might as well sob.

Categories
Charles Bradley David Bazan Death Cab for Cutie Deerhunter Imaginary Scoop Matt & Kim Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside Superchunk Thao and the Get Down Stay Down The Breeders

Is it the weekend yet? Bumbershoot 2013 is almost here!

{TheeSatisfaction at Bumbershoot 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
THEESatisfaction, Bumbershoot 2012

With the excitement of Bumbershoot's approach comes that sad-trombone realization that summer is coming to a close (seriously you guys, LABOR DAY ALREADY?) and in this year's case, a particularly mighty and sunny Seattle summer at that. But really, what better way to spend it than a breezy weekend down at Seattle Center, taking in bands and art and comedy and panels and everything that this year's festival has to offer?

There's so much great programming at Bumbershoot that it seems literally impossible to get to All Of The Things that one wants to see — and with that said, here are each day's absolute can't-miss non-negotiables on my music schedule this year:

{Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot 2011 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Charles Bradley, Bumbershoot 2011

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires {Saturday}

Seriously. Between 2011's No Time for Dreaming and this year's Victim of Love, Saturday's sets are sure to be jam-packed with that new-classic soul feel that Charles does so well. To quote the emoting that shot forth when the "Strictly Reserved for You" video came out: this man isn't just a performer, he is a literal force — and he'll give you that capitalized Experience we all hope for at a show. Fuck it, I'm calling it now: Charles Bradley's set is going to be my Ultimate Festival Moment (tied with the Death Cab set, natch, but we'll get to that in a minute). Lucikly, you'll have two chances to partake in the bliss, as Charles and the Extraordinaires will be doing their main set on the Starbucks Stage on Saturday at 8pm, and if you were lucky enough to get a ticket, you can double-dip with a performance earlier that day for KEXP.

Speaking of, can we take a minute to talk about KEXP's Bumbershoot Lounge? Their series of in-studios are almost like a fest within the fest, with excellent crowd control and icy air conditioning. The station has lined up Thao and the Get Down Stay Down {Saturday}, Charles Bradley {Saturday}, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside {Sunday}, Bob Mould {Sunday}, Superchunk {Monday} — and that's just a fraction of the performers. The full schedule of bands is on the KEXP site here, but if you aren't already signed up for a seat, you're shit out of luck. Sorry. (We'll be sure to post pictures for you next week, promise!)

Other heavy hitters for Saturday: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down {Fountain Lawn Stage, 3:30pm}, !!! {TuneIn Stage, 6:15pm}, Washed Out {Fountain Lawn Stage, 9pm}, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside {Plaza Stage, 9:30pm}, Heart {Mainstage, 9:45pm}

Death Cab for Cutie {Sunday}

As stated above, this one will be a tie for Ultimate Festival Moment, no contest. Transatlanticism start to finish = heart-explosion of monumental proportions. There's not even anything I can say about it besides (1) HOLY SHIT, it's been ten years?? and (2) see you in the front row. Mainstage, Sunday night, 9:45pm. Earlier on Sunday, the Words and Ideas Stage will host a panel at high noon, with a conversation about Barsuk Records (and their 15th anniversary!) with none other than Josh Rosenfeld, Sean Nelson, John Roderick, and David Bazan at the helm.

There's plenty to do in-between these Barsuk-y bookends on Sunday, specifically: The Redwood Plan {12:15pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Ramona Falls {12:45pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Tegan and Sara {2pm, Mainstage}, David Bazan {3:30pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Katie Kate {4:30pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Comettes {5pm, Plaza Stage}, Mates of State {5:15pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Bob Mould {6:15pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Grizzled Mighty {6:30pm, Plaza Stage}, The Breeders {8pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Zombies {8:15pm, Starbucks Stage}, Matt and Kim {10pm, TuneIn Stage}

{Superchunk}

Superchunk {Monday}

Yep, I know there are much bigger bands taking to various stages on Monday, but Superchunk will hands-down be my highlight. (I think I've put "Green Flowers, Blue Fish" on at least 33% of my end-of-relationship mixtapes.) I know they've got a new album out and all, but Here's Where The Strings Come In is one of my forever-classics and will always stay in high rotation!! It's going to feel a little bit like 2008 with Superchunk and DCfC playing in the same weekend and all, with all of us a mere half-decade older and wiser. Seeing these folks perform on the Fountain Lawn Stage {7pm} will be pretty intimate so far as rock shows go, and I'm hedging my bets that they'll absolutely be a highlight of the closing day of the fest.

The rest of my closing-day must-sees include The Maldives {Starbucks Stage, 1pm}, Mark Pickerel and his Praying Hands {Plaza Stage, 6pm} and Deerhunter {9pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}. All this plus Flatstock, a few comedy shows, and a stop at Skillet for a kale ceasar will leave me happy festivalgoer, and I hope you all have a good Bumbershoot this year too! If you're still on the fence though (SILLY YOU), hop on off it and head over to the Bumbershoot site to pick up your tickets. You can get an any-day for $60, daily passes for $56, and three-days for $140 (hello, affordable festival!!). If your wallet is a little deeper, splurge on some Gold Passes for Monday — all other Gold / Platinum access levels are, sadly, sold out.

{Bumbershoot takes place at Seattle Center from Saturday, August 31st through Monday, September 2nd. All ages. Photos of THEESatisfaction and Charles Bradley by Victoria VanBruinisse. Photo of Superchunk courtesy of the band.}

Categories
David Bazan Death Cab for Cutie Heart Imaginary Scoop Midday Veil Ted Leo & the Pharmacists The Breeders The Physics

Bumbershoot personal pan preview 2013: Saturday & Sunday

I am going to tell you what I know about this year's Bumbershoot line up for its full three days — fortunately, it's a great year and there's almost too much to chat about! Thus, I'll be breaking it down in parts. And I know a little bit about a lot of things, and parts of things (I keep them in my drawers). But there are some other things that I don't know that much about so will either leave them out… or, take completely random and perhaps inappropriate wild-ass swings at previewing them! So, without further ado:

Things I wanna wanna do on Saturday, 8/31:

Dave B (12:30 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage) 

Sometimes a fella or boo just wants to jam it. Doesn't want to hear about the economy, doesn't want to hear a bunch of threats or emotional larceny, doesn't need some drizzling "profound" sound effects in ponderous drip-hop mode, but merely wants to hit the beach or dance on the bleachers at a sports afterparty. Bumbershoot kicks out with recent Sound Off! wildcard winner Dave B, who didn't hit me when I first heard him a while back. But then he slayed us all sweetly at the Capitol Hill Block Party (his happily pureandtrue hip-hop set was a high point), and I'm primed for this live flesh follow up of his freshness. Gotta get his long-been-out The Coffee EP pronto. 

Mike Vecchione and Marc Maron (1 p.m., Comedy at the Playhouse)

Always take in a Marc Maron joint. He can be as nasty as he wants to be and still plays nice with others. I probably don't have to hype this too much, and Marc performs throughout the festival, this is just the first shot and I thought I'd mention it. He reminds me of my father-in-law if the dude was as well-read and more neurotic like me, which I guess says a lot about my wife. Anyways, when you think of Marc Maron, think of Californication if it starred a comedian. 

Nacho Picasso (1:15, TuneIn Stage)

XXL and Vibe love him now, but that's not why you need to get involved. There's a Cubist antagonism to NP's rants, tucked inside a city at the end of an all night rampage epilogue feel. It's dark, it's art, it's trap, and for regional rap it seems neither grotesquely falsely humble or hive-minded deluded about who's really cutting the checks and getting the minstrel spotlight. 

Down North (2 p.m., Plaza Stage)

One of the most underrated bands in the Pacific NW, Down North is tough enough to be jam-it Afro-punk, stylish enough to buy your lady a drink with a smile you just gotta forgive, soulful enough to bring the spirit of Michael Jackson into your neighborhood church, and born to make you bounce into the crowd. What I love about them the most is that I could totally see them kicking ass in an East Coast club between sets of no wave bands and noise units, bringing the heat and the heart to the art school scene. Yes, they're that smart and that on fire. 

Seattle Arts & Lectures presents The Lunchbox Project Live: Literary Pleasures and Musical Shenanigans (4 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage) vs. Kendrick Lamar (same time, Mainstage)

Okay, because I was obsessed with DMX too I will probably be at Kendrick to hear more and say I was there. I hear he was part of someone else's song and apparently named some names, something that never, ever happens in rap! Otherwise, if Down North drenched me in dance sweat, I will be seeing a bunch of word scribblers yammer about stuff I'm into while it's still light out.

How Was Your Week? with guest Ted Leo (4:45 p.m., Comedy at the Bagley)

Ted Leo is a man I really want to see interviewed live, and this podcast conducts great interviews. Ted Leo. Damn! So many things I want to ask him. I might take this one over, wrestling the mic from Julie Klausner (nah, I'm sure she'll do fine. But if there's a chance for audience questions, be ready lady!) 

The Physics (5:15 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage)

Keep up with The Physics. That's what they say. They slyly subvert a lot of their contemporaries with lyrical surprises, nuanced rhythms, and choice samples. It's been "next big thing" yap for years but it really should happen. 

Fantagraphics Follies (6 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage)  

One-time maniacal punk music manager and now publishing maven Larry Reid hosts this roiling ode to the mightiest publisher alive, with talents like sublime graphic novelist Ellen Forney (Marbles, The Stranger), completely mesmerizing fine artist Jim Woodring (Jim and Frank and many other books), indie comics comedian Kelly Froh, and others entertaining us in weird and wonderful ways. Special happenings: Can You Imagine? plays! That's right, that girl group from comix-punk heaven lights down to light up the Words & Ideas stage! (Fantagraphics' own Peter Bagge plays drums for this sweetness.) This one will be packed out. Get in line on Friday, champs. 

Weird & Awesome with Emmett Montgomery (7:00 p.m., Theatre Puget Sound Stage) 

Emmett loves the strange, and wallows around in it with us comedically, but it's his humanistic touch, his gentle heart, his mindful awe that keeps his entertainments from seeming like a mere freak show. He always puts out a positive vibe even when things get Hunter Thompson-level "professional" (i.e., bonkers). 

Gary Numan, (8 p.m., TuneIn Stage)

You might not believe this, if you only know him from his hits, but Gary is killer live. Yeah, I know, sometimes synth-based artists aren't that inspiring, just standing there singing like robots as they push some buttons. Gary was a rocker first, and has cultivated an impressive following of fans who have been buying his albums whenever he cares to release them, and bone up on the live boots and such as well. This isn't "new wave exploitation" by Bumbershoot by any means; Gary's a worker, and has been rocking audiences regularly for as long as you've been clapping your hands to that synth-drum beat in "Cars." I can't wait to see him play "Praying To The Aliens" and most especially "Down In The Park" live — the latter song being  a common cover by discerning, loving GM fans in bands all over the indie world. 

Heart (9:45 p.m., Main Stage) 

If you're a Seattle area kid of a good span of ages, you remember when they made the covers of magazines like Rolling Stone, spending many an incense-burning evening in a park listening to Dreamboat Annie etc. on your car stereo, turned up LOUD to seduce the minds of hicks from Eastern Washington. They've always rocked, and we've never not been proud of them. (Everyone gets a pass for 80s shoulder pads these days.) This show will be super powerful for anyone who has never caught Ann and Nancy soulfully putting their wild, witchy, loving talents out there for everyone to soak in. Do it. And for those who have caught 'em a few times as I have, we'll be back in the Black Velvet saddle again. 

Places I wanna wanna be on Sunday, 9/1:

Ayron Jones and The Way (12:00 p.m., Starbucks Stage) vs. 15 Years of Barsuk Records

Caveat: My company Big Freak is doing an email blast for Ayron for this show and his new single and full length; I wouldn't hype it here due to ethical considerations, but I've never seen him live, and I really hear he kicks ass! So this is probably what I'll be doing — which I submit in humility as I should have seen him long ago (Megan Seling calls him "insanely talented"). And yet that chatter-fest about Barsuk with the label's Mister Joshua and John Roderick and Sean Nelson and Dave Bazan … now THAT'S a convo!. Rats. When cloning is perfected, the first place they'll be sold at high quality rock festivals like Bumbershoot!

Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies (1:30 p.m., Kids Zone) 

This guy's music for kids is great. He's often as talented as Jonathan Richman back when Jonathan wasn't singing about lesbian bars but was more into martian martians. By no means am I going to go to this and sing the lyrics to "Here Comes The Bus" as "Here Come The Drugs" as I never do around my apartment, snickering to myself like a depraved moron. 

Why Fan Fiction? Why YA? Why now? (2 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage) 

Why indeed? I love contemplating all fandom cultures, and those people who create fan fiction fascinate me. It's amazing how mainstream it's become. Back in the old days at science fiction conventions, fan fictions writers were the only ones without weed, or party rooms, or book contracts. 

Dave Bazan vs. Midday Veil (3:30 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage vs. Plaza Stage) 

Choices! Choices! Bazan is ready to mortally bruise my heart with some sobering lament about loss and the ennui of being, whilst Midday Veil want to light me up and spark me out to the outer reaches of blitzed cosmology. Both are arguably post-theological, and will depend on whether I'm feeling numinous-meditative or live-it-up Lovecraftian!

Writing Staff of Parks & Recreation (6 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage)

I predict writing staffs (especially including show runners) will be the next rock stars, not as bold a claim as it seems in these Golden Days of TV. Writing is becoming a very important thing for the best shows, and we're actually starting to follow who writes TV now. Parks & Recreation has such an awesome cast, it probably distracts a bit from how tight and beautiful every script for the show really is.

The Breeders (8 p.m., TuneIn Stage) 

After Heart, into the 90s, your pool of coolest chicks ever to watch and listen to and go nuts for would have included this band. They might as well have come from Seattle, as we never could stop loving their grimy, giddy, growling anthems to sensory astonishment, and life in the metaphysical sticks. This will be a smear of love and rage, of shit talk and musical fire, of sisterhood and brother voodoo. 

Death Cab For Cutie (9:45 p.m., Mainstage) 

First time I ever heard DCFC was at a local record label where everyone hovering around a certain age was blasting it out of their boombalaboxes and stereophones (what the kids had to play music on back in razzamatazzles '99). So I knew these Bellingham boys were going to be popular! Did I know that they would record Transatlanticism, the Night Moves out of all the groups from the mainframe Spice Girl-flavored frozen-yogurt years? Why, hell no! I'm no meter maid. That wouldn't happen till the mid-Rottens, and it would pack live music compounds full of Republican house-flippers and wizened yet still slightly weepy emo gals alike for raising their iPods above theirs heads in a butaneless tribute to a ghost called grandpa arena rock. Here at Bumbershoot they do it again, playing the whole goddamn thing, when I've never actually finished listening to it in the first place yet (it was a rough decade).

At this point, I will remind those grumpwumpuses who what get angry about bands playing their "classic" long-players all the way through that there is nothing wrong with that — an album should be a singular experience, and it can be reflected in a live setting. Long-time DCFC fans should love it. 

Monday recs are on the way, kids. See you at Seattle Center!

Categories
Damien Jurado David Bazan Imaginary Scoop John Darnielle

Stuck in a holiday rut? Need some jingle in your bells? Just press play!

Nothing says "home for the holidays" like those end-of-year spreadsheets at the day job, right? Really though, if you're stuck at a desk for the duration of the week, it really does help to have a little extra jingle in your cube. So, on the heels of Liz's post yesterday, here's a handful of internet-corners that will help to get the jolly in your ho-ho-ho!

An absolute classic, and easy to run in the background while you work, A Charlie Brown Christmas is about as key to the holidays as whatever time of year it was when they used to run The Wizard of Oz on television, commercial-free, and all the kids would watch it in the rec room while the adults smoked cigarettes and drank in the kitchen upstairs and played Pinochole. It's nostalgia-inducing, sweetly familiar, and won't cause one bit of offense to the old dude in accounting across the hall if you happen to turn it up a little bit at your favorite parts!

And in case you missed it earlier this month, Damien Jurado put out a totally killer version of ACBC's signature song, "Christmastime is Here", that you can read all about {and get a download link for} over at the Secretly Canadian site.

Cue super-adorbs kid's choir in the making-of video above. <3!

Thanks to the magic of of all things online, you can also watch the entirety of 1964's claymation / stop-motion spectacular, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We searched fervently for The Year Without a Santa Claus as well, but it seems to be out there in movie-snippet form only. All the more reason to buy these on DVD for your permanent collection! Heat Miser!

PS, if you can squint past the Budweiser intro ads, The Onion's AV Club has a pretty killer series of videos up too, including David Bazan + Band covering Low and John Darnielle's take on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". If you go directly to their site {here} and scroll down below the text in the post, there's just shy of a dozen holiday songs, including contributions from Wye Oak, Dawes, and more.

Happy Holidays!

Categories
Caitlin Rose David Bazan Gillian Welch Imaginary Scoop Pearl Jam Wilco Yellow Ostrich

Heavy rotation: fall edition, part II

In the pig-pile rush to get our best-of-2011 lists done, we thought we'd take a break and pick up the continuation of that what's-in-heavy-rotation post from last month, wherein we let you know what was taking up space on the imaginary radar of late, along with upcoming shows and appearances. So, without further ado, here's the second piece of that post, where almost none of the bands have anything particular coming up on the calendar or release radar, but we've still got them in repeat mode regardless:

We're not sure if this is a band-produced or fan-made video, but in either case, Yellow Ostrich's WHALE is pretty high up there on the list for Best Mixtape Openers Ever To Exist {which makes the grand assumption that ubiquitous you still makes actual mixtapes, of course} with it's stripped-bare, big-empty-room drumbeats and veritable choir of multi-vocals to bleed into the start of something good. Regardless of your format or fancy, you'd be doing yourself a favor by picking up this track to have in your tracklisty mix-making arsenal. YO doesn't have any tour dates coming up at the moment, but head on over to their corner of the internet anyway to keep an eye on what's coming next for these gents. {band site}

{Caitlin Rose}

On the roots-y-Roadhouse-y front, there's a few alt.indie acts that fall under the umbrella of "General American Songwriter" that have made it into our mixes of late, like the entirety of Gillian Welch's The Harrow and the Harvest and Caitlin Rose (photo above)'s Own Side Now. Gillian's album has proper and snippet-streams all about the web, but even though there were a slew of Fleetwood Mac covers, we couldn't find a video or track link for our favorite song of Caitlin's, "Coming Up" — and it's hands-down the best representation of her we can muster. Should you come across it out there, please purchase it immediately and blast it on your next drive at full-volume, preferably as the closer of the mix you just made that started with that Yellow Ostrich track. {buy Gillian's music} {buy Caitlin's music}

One that you won't find online in any form, though, is this little gem: a compilation of odds and ends from our friend Tom Brosseau, simply titled Rarities 2002-2011. It's a recent tour-only release, and has bits from album outtakes, live radio appearances, shows, and even a track from his stop at the Triple Door in 2008. Tom doesn't have any immediate dates on the radar, but might put something together if you ask him real sweet-like — and you can catch him playing around the greater LA area now and again if you happen to be down SoCal way. Keep an eye on his website and get on his mailing list to stay in the TB loop. {more}

It wouldn't be a proper heavy rotation post without talking about two 2011's as-yet-underacclaimed albums that made their way into our hot little hands, Wilco's The Whole Love and David Bazan's Strange Negotiations. While they're not what we consider the "ultimate peak" releases from either band, they're damn good and well worth the physical library space they'll take up: both are a true, accurate representation of each band in present state, full of where they've been and where they're going. Old fans won't feel slighted, new fans will be able to listen, and everybody wins. And PS, Wilco has tour dates coming!! They'll be at the Paramount on February 7th. {Wilco} {David Bazan}

Also, can we take a minute to talk about the full-frontal brilliance of PJ20? For serious. Thanks to Netflix streaming, we've been able to take in the entirety of the film in all it's multi-hour glory — more than once, thereby qualifying it as part of our heavy rotation of late. Here's a bit from Cameron Crowe's website that explains the bulk of it for anyone who lives under a rock might not be familiar:

Pearl Jam Twenty chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon-after their rise to megastardom, their step back from center stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them—giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound, the film is carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely-seen and never-before seen footage spanning the band’s career. Pearl Jam Twenty is the definitive portrait of Pearl Jam: part concert film, part intimate insider-hang, part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists.

Big themes and bold colors, indeed. The closing sequence alone was enough to make us kick ourselves repeatedly for not catching this slice of Seattle music history on the big screen when we had the chance! {more info from The Uncool} {the best $14.99 you'd spend all year}

And now, back to your regularly scheduled imaginary programming and those best-of lists that have been nagging at us for weeks. More of our favorite things coming soon!

{Photo of Caitlin Rose courtesy of the artist. Photo of Tom Brosseau's Rarities courtesy of imaginary Victoria's iPhone.}

Categories
David Bazan Imaginary Scoop The Showbox

David Bazan presale… UPDATE: we've got tickets to give away!

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

It’s all happening!

***UPDATE***

Since this post, two stellar things have come to pass: one, Quasi and Rocky Votolato have been added to the line-up, which has taken the night from full-throttle amazing-style to absolute non-negotiable — and two, we’ve got not one, but two pairs of tickets to give away to the show!

We’ll be running a ticket giveaway for the next week, and all you’ve got to do is send us a love letter telling us why we should pick you and a friend to be our lucky free attendees! Drop that email to tig {at} three imaginary girls {dot} com with the subject line “ColdBeerAndCigarettes” sometime between now and 10a on Thursday, July 14th. We’ll pull two lucky winners out of the hat and notify you by email before the end of the business day that Thursday, and you’ll be on the list for the show on Saturday night. Easy as that!

Keep reading for information on how to click through to purchase tickets — the presale is over, but there’s still some available through the Showbox box office.

===

As promised, we have a special link just for our imaginary readers that will let you jump on the presale wagon for David Bazan’s Showbox show this summer — he’ll be taking the stage at the Showbox on July 16th. Tickets go on sale tomorrow to the public, but you can purchase yours anytime between 10a and 10p today by following this link and clicking through the “buy tickets” link. {PS: the password is imaginary.}

Hop to it and go pick yourself up some tickets! Again, you’ve only got until 10p tonight to take advantage of this presale.

We’ll see you at the show!

{Photo of David Bazan at the Triple Door by Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Categories
Barsuk David Bazan Imaginary Scoop

Happy hour: yesterday's live David Bazan webcast = win

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Thanks to an invite from the lovely folks over at Tiny Human / Barsuk, we spent about forty-five minutes after work yesterday swooning in-person to David Bazan’s live Ustream webcast {which, if you didn’t catch it live, is archived for your viewing and listening pleasure here}. Talk about happy hour! Initially set up to be a four-ish song quickie set that we were stopping to catch a glimpse of,  the webcast turned into almost an hour’s worth of performance and Q & A, including songs from the brand-new release strange negotiations as well as some choice back-catalog cuts.

It was an absolute privilege to attend, and while we’re still gushing, let’s add the fact that we literally can not say enough good words about strange negotiations and all it’s inherent amazingness — especially so soon after the homerun hit of Curse Your Branches. We’re still absorbing the album and will have a full review up soon, but in the meantime, the three words that matter most about it are as follows: buy this record. We promise, you won’t regret it.

Here’s a few more photos of the session:

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

For more information on David Bazan’s upcoming summertime shows, visit the tour page of his website here. By the looks of these venues (I’m talking to you, Connecticut!) and some of the tourmates — like Rocky Votolato, Cotton Jones, and S. Careyyou are not going to want to miss these performances. Go get your tickets now and get plans in place show up early. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks again to everyone for a lovely evening!

{Photos courtesy of Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Categories
Buffalo Tom David Bazan Imaginary Scoop

Time to celebrate Ballard, KEXP-style! {Friday, 5/20}

You’d better book a sick day, folks. Because KEXP is taking over Ballard next Friday {May 20th}, and we’re pretty sure you’re not going to want to miss a minute of it. On top of countless gigs around town at night, they’ll be at the Sunset starting at 6a, with live bands and a live broadcast all day that’s free, open to the public, and all ages. (Hot damn.) Dig this lineup:

7a: David Bazan
9a: Yuni in Taxco
11a: Point Juncture, WA
1p: Buffalo Tom
3p: Joan as Police Woman
5p: Shabazz Palaces
6:30p: The Black Crabs
8:30p: Marshall Scott Warner

Yes, David Bazan really is on at 7a. For anyone else caring to join us at that moderately unholy hour, we’ll be the ones mainlining quad shots in the front row.

On top of that, there will be acoustic performances from Jason Dodson (of the Maldives) and BOAT at 2:30p and 5:30p respectively, over across the way at Cupcake Royale. And on top of that, KEXP DJs and live bands will continue their Ballard takeover well into the wee hours of the night: bands and hosts will be rocking the night away at the Sunset (post-broadcast, starting at 9:30p), the Tractor and Conor Byrne; and there will be live DJ sets at Harlow’s, Hazelwood, BalMar, Ocho, and Portalis.

Of particular interest is the one-two punch taking place over at Hattie’s, where Greg Vandy will be serving the drinks from 5-8p and Don Slack will be manning the decks from 8-10p. Add on all the Ballard business kicking down KEXP discounts, a food drive, and a smattering of other neighborhood events — well, the day’s going to be a win-win. No two ways about it.

Don’t miss a minute of it! We’ll see you out on the town.

{More information on KEXP’s Ballard Day can be found here. Photo of David Bazan at the Triple Door courtesy of Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Categories
David Bazan Imaginary Scoop Showbox at the Market

TIG exclusive: David Bazan presale this Friday! {4/15}

{David Bazan / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Yep, you read that right: we’ve got an exclusive presale for David Bazan’s just-announced Showbox show, and you are invited!

Bazan + Band will be taking the stage down at the Showbox (Market, of course) on July 16th — yes, we know it’s a ways off and all but tickets are going on sale this Saturday, April 16th. And since you’re an ever-informed imaginary reader, you’ve got the chance to pick up tickets before everyone else! Kind of like having a backstage pass to the box office, isn’t it?

On Friday, April 15th, from 10a – 10p, you’ll be able to pick up your advance ticket by pointing your clicker-finger to a special link (we’ll be providing it on Friday morning) and entering our secret password to get past the gate. Easy peasy!

Stay tuned for another post (as well as our twitter feed) for more details later on in the week — we’ll be posting the presale information for our imaginary database first before we let the password loose to the public. To be the very-most super-first-place up-to-date on all our happenings, play it safe and sign up for our mailing list if you’re not on it already.

Yay!

{Photo of David Bazan from MFNW 2010 by Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Categories
Damien Jurado David Bazan Hype Imaginary Scoop John Roderick Nathaniel Rateliff Okkervil River Rachel Flotard Shearwater The Head and the Heart Tune-Yards

Imaginary Victoria's best of 2010, part two: shows (and other indoor sports)

{seattle show posters photo shoot / by victoria vanbruinisse}

It’s safe to say here at Three Imaginary Girls that we go to a lot of shows. Sometimes, two (or three) in one night, if there’s more than one must-see happening going on about town. And so it’s no surprise that in 2010 alone, just on my own, I managed to go to shoot at least two shows a week on average, attended another two dozen-ish (or so) sans camera, plus several festivals, house parties and a handful of KEXP in-studios. We’re talking everything from nights at the Sunset and Neumos to four days in Portland for MFNW, out locally for long weekends at Bumbershoot and Sasquatch, and down to SXSW and back again.

On any given night there are plenty of shows taking place, in rooms across Seattle and across the country, where boys and girls and instruments and fans all convene inside four walls to make, appreciate, and experience live music — but not all of them are Shows. When I reference shows in this post, I’m talking about the nights that we collectively See A Show, the nights that remind me us why we live in Seattle in the first place. Seeing A Show has the ability to alter the fabric of our respective existence, to leave us forever changed — full of those everything-I’ve-ever-done-led-to-this-exact-right-now kinds of moments.

With a history timeline at the ready via flickr sets and hastily scrawled notes from stage right, I give you some of my greatest moments of 2010 as an appendix to the ever-popular top albums of the year lists that have been popping up all over our radars.

{neil young marquee / by victoria vanbruinisse}

First place:
Neil Young (solo) at the Paramount

This might be construed as an easy out for a list-topper, but it was by far the most stupidly amazing few hours I spent in a venue all year. Not only was I among the lucky few that got to hang and shoot from the soundboard, but I also had the privilege of being allowed to watch the set after shooting (sans camera gear) from the third-level mezzanine. It may as well have been a live reel of Young in his prime, for how good he sounded — without a doubt one of the top ten shows of my life, probably in the history of Ever.

{david bazan + band / by victoria vanbruinisse}

Tied for Runner Uppers:
Everything I saw David Bazan (+ Band) play, every Head and the Heart performance, and the nights that Nathaniel Rateliff, Shearwater, and John Roderick / the Long Winters had headlining spots at the Triple Door.

See also: times I was practically in tears in front of a stage in 2010. David Bazan put on an amazing solo set at an installment of the City Arts Song Show at the Triple Door, and a Pedro the Lion-worthy performance at the Doug Fir as part of this year’s MFNW weekend down in Portland — but the hands-down winner show was the set at KEXP’s Bumbershoot lounge. As a long-time fan, I spent the entirety of that show squee-ing on the inside like a teenage fangirl, clutching the hand of the friend sitting next to me, so totally full-hearted and thoroughly impressed.

The same goes for The Head and the Heart’s shows at Sonic Boom, the Comet, Columbia City Theater, and in the opening spot for Vampire Weekend at the Paramount — as we’ve said here so many times before, THATH is the most consistently amazing ‘new’ band we’ve seen this year. Every performance was (and is) delivered with all the soul they’ve got to bring to the table at any given moment, and we look forward to absorbing more of what they’ve got in the coming year.

{nathaniel rateliff / by victoria vanbruinisse]

{shearwater / by victoria vanbruinisse}

{john roderick / by victoria vanbruinisse}

Rounding out the runner-uppers are some of the best sets of the year that all just happen to have taken place at the Triple Door, our favorite dinner-and-a-show sit-down venue in the city. From those comfy, spring-y front-row seats came moments we couldn’t have ever imagined for ourselves in our wildest Rock Band dreams: the emotional open-heart surgery of Nathaniel Rateliff, being an arm’s length away from Shearwater on the tour they did with Wye Oak and Hospital Ships, and the first of three planned summertime shows by the Long Winters. Our hearts will truly never be the same.

{damien jurado / by victoria vanbruinisse}

Second Place:
Damien Jurado’s Saint Bartlett pre-release show
at the West Seattle Easy Street.

There’s only one word for this: Killer. The only reason this set is in second place and not tied for first runner-up with the rest of the performances above is simply because it technically wasn’t a ‘show’ per se, but it was hands-down one of the greatest sets of music I  had the privilege of witnessing all year. If you haven’t picked up a shiny-fresh copy of Saint Bartlett yet — you’re missing out. (Go vinyl if you have the means, ps.)

Honorable Mention:
The Old 97s soundcheck at the Showbox.

Not to say that the show itself wasn’t a slice of 97s-stylee magic, because it was — but to (a) respond to an ask for requests by calling out your namesake song at a soundcheck and (b) to have it played back immediately, enthusiastically, and in-front-of-you-and-twelve-people-y is enough to make anyone’s inner teenager swoon.

{sasquatch / by victoria vanbruinisse}

{tuneyards / by victoria vanbruinisse}

The Festival Circuit: Sasquatch!

Sasquatch was the win of the year, hands-down. The weather (mostly) held out, we had three straight days of Seattle concert photographer bootcamp out in one of the most gorgeous venue settings in the state, and the lineup was tremendous: specifically, sets from Tune-Yards, The Middle East, and the Long Winters kicked our respective asses. Not that Pavement didn’t do the trick or anything, and believe me, watching tens of thousands of people dance to LCD Soundsystem was no slouch of an experience — but getting to see the Long Winters do an absolutely fucking flawless cover of “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead may have been one of The Greatest Set Moments Of The Year. No joke.

{okkervil river / by victoria vanbruinisse}

Coming in at a close second was a long weekend in Portland for Music Fest NorthWest, as the lot of us ran all over the city to catch performances by everyone from the Head and the Heart to the Decemberists to Okkervil River and back again. Merge that with KEXP’s killer sessions at the Doug Fir, David Bazan’s aforementioned show, and rad hangs with fellow imaginary Bobby McHugh — and you’ve got a recipe for awesome.

Everything else that’s fit to print type:

*I made the greatest breakup mix ever. (Seriously.)
*Pavement. Paramount. Photo pit. There are no words.
*Seattle Show Posters got together with the likes of Rachel Flotard, John Roderick, the Head and the Heart, and Imaginary Liz and I (amongst other seriously talented folk) and did a sweet-ass photo shoot to promote their presence at this year’s Flatstock at Bumbershoot. It was postively swoonworthy.
*The EMP put on some spectacular exhibits, including Taking Aim with Graham Nash and an entire massive plot of floorspace dedicated to the Supremes’ wardrobe collection.
*I got turned on to Daytrotter. Holy heaven in a batch of downloads!
*American Standard Time (Greg Vandy’s blog) was birthed.
*Columbia City Theater was revamped, reopened, and became one of our hands-down favorite places to see shows in the city. Overnight.
*Imaginary photogress extraordinaire Laura Musselman exposed me to the website where you can have Eef Barzelay (of Clem Snide fame) record any three of his songs that you want for a mere twenty dollars. (Yes, really.)
*“Cancer: The Musical” happened. And brought the house down, quite literally.

And last, but certainly not least: people rode the lightrail…

{lighrail ride / by victoria vanbruinisse}

without pants.

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse. From the top: Seattle Show Posters promotional shoot at KEXP with Brent Amaker, Rachel Flotard, John Roderick, the Head and the Heart, and others; Neil Young marquee (courtesy of City Arts); David Bazan at KEXP’s Bumbershoot lounge; Nathaniel Rateliff at the Triple Door; Shearwater at the Triple Door; John Roderick (the Long Winters) at the Triple Door; Damien Jurado at Easy Street Records (West Seattle); Sasquatch / the Gorge (courtesy of City Arts); Tune-Yards at Sasquatch (courtesy of City Arts); Patrick Pesto of Okkervil River at MFNW; pants-free Lightrail Ride (courtesy of City Arts).}

Thanks for a stellar 2010, and here’s looking ahead to an exciting, swoonworthy, teenage-feelin’ appropriately-pantsless 2011! We can’t hardly wait to see what’s in store.