Categories
Artist Blondie Bumbershoot Bumbershoot 2018 Fleet Foxes Live Show Review Portugal the Man SZA The Regrettes

Bumbershoot 2018 Day 3 Recap

Wowee we finally made it to Day 3, and somehow our dogs weren’t even barking this year! More like a low whimper.  We didn’t hit the day too hard but caught some fun sets packed with fans from Portugal the Man and Blondie, while Fleet Foxes sang soothing harmonies to a strangely empty stadium.

Can we talk about The Regrettes for a second? A) I’ve never seen a set at KEXP during Bumbershoot that actually got the audience to sandwich themselves up against the stage. B) This is the first and only time I’ve seen a crowd surfer in the Gathering Space. EVER! C) They had MOXY my friends. Their whole set was brashly bouncy and you should totally check them out the next time they’re in town.

Speaking of amazing performers, SZA brought the house down! There were tears of joy both on and off the stage, everyone was singing along, and she ended the night with “All The Stars,” as fireworks exploded overhead. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT IN LIFE? How about some totally choice pics from the day? BAM!

Portugal the Man. Photo by Brady Harvey
Portugal the Man
Portugal the Man. Photo by Brady Harvey
Portugal the Man
Portugal the Man. Photo by Brady Harvey
Portugal the Man
Portugal the Man. Photo by Brady Harvey
Portugal the Man
Portugal the Man. Photo by Brady Harvey
Portugal the Man
Portugal the Man. Photo by Brady Harvey
Portugal the Man
Portugal The Man
Fleet Foxes. Photo by Brady Harvey
Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes. Photo by Brady Harvey
Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes. Photo by Brady Harvey
Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes. Photo by Brady Harvey
Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes. Photo by Brady Harvey
Fleet Foxes
The Regrettes. Photo by Brady Harvey
The Regrettes
The Regrettes. Photo by Brady Harvey
The Regrettes
The Regrettes. Photo by Brady Harvey
The Regrettes
The Regrettes. Photo by Brady Harvey
The Regrettes
The Regrettes. Photo by Brady Harvey
The Regrettes
The Regrettes. Photo by Brady Harvey
The Regrettes
The Regrettes

Thanks again Bumbershoot, as always, you’re a real gem! This is Brady and Jean, signing off ’til next time. <3

Categories
Cristina Bautista Eef Barzelay Fleet Foxes Imaginary Scoop John Roderick Live Show Review Lovesick Empire Mike Doughty Pickwick Visqueen

These are a few of our favorite things: best all-around photos and moments of 2011 {pt. II}

{This is part two of two in our best-of photo series of 2011. Take a peek over at part one here, and don't forget to check out our festival best-ofs part one and two as well!}

{Field trip to Ocean Shores / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #5: Ocean Shores :: In a get-to-know-your-roots {PNW edition} kind of road trip, we hopped in the car one weekend with esteemed sometimes-imaginary photographer and fellow transplant Laura Musselman for a ride out to the water — Ocean Shores, to be exact — with jaunts to Aberdeen and Hoquiam on the way. It was all at once melancholy and sun-filled, juxtaposing sad, semi-abandoned mainstreets with a big, bright, full-fledged kite festival once we were beachside. Strange as it was for those two worlds to meet, it was definitely a day trip for the books, yielding a half-dozen photos that easily made our best-ofs for the year (like the one above). {more field trip photos} {Laura Musselman}

{Eef Barzelay / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #5: Eef Barzelay {at the Madrona Ale House} :: The night after Eef Barzelay's headlining appearance at our Imaginary Holiday Spectacular, he played a much quieter affair as part of a private party at the Madrona Ale House. Abandoning the PA after three-quarters of a song, he sat down across the table from us, where he proceeded to stay for much of the show. The result? A very front-row seat for one of our favorite performances of the year. You can even hear a moderately decent recording of one of his Journey project tracks from the show over here and relive the moment along with us! {more photos of Eef} {Eef Barzelay / Clem Snide bandcamp}

{Lovesick Empire / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #4: Lovesick Empire at Neumos :: This one happened so early in the year that it almost slipped through the great sort-through! Way back in January, Lovesick Empire played an AMAZING set at Neumos, and even though they're pushing forward with a slightly different lineup than seen here, they are still making some of the most kick-ass music coming out of Seattle today. It's huge-sounding, dirty, full of guitars, and cuts right to the point — another one to add to your "do not miss under any circumstances" list of live bands to catch so that you don't regret it forever the morning after they've played. {more photos from the Neumos show} {Lovesick Empire FB}

{John Roderick / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #4: John Roderick's pre-City Arts house show :: We were the luckiest of all ducks to not only attend, but actually host a super-intimate house show with John Roderick out in Ballard this past October, where less than two dozen folks pulled together a potluck and a city of tealights for one of our favorite shows of the year. John held court in front of the mantel, singing and storytelling and taking requests for more time than we could keep track of (minutes? hours?) while the room swooned away with delight — like Eef's Alehouse show, we even managed to sneak in a homemade recording, which you can take a listen to here. Honestly, there's not much we can think of for 2012 that's going to be able to top it. {more photos from the house show} {The Long Winters}

{Pickwick / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #3: Pickwick :: Yep, we are fully on the bandwagon — we loves us some Pickwick. And we loves us some Galen especially, with his super-expressive stage presence and a pair of lungs that just won't quit! Seen here belting it out at Columbia City Theater earlier this year, we're super stoked to not only have seen a great show in such an intimate venue while we had the chance, and to have the photos to prove it — but also for all the good things to come in 2012 (read: what will likely be one of our favorite albums of the year). {more Pickwick photos} {Pickwick bandcamp}

{The Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment(s) #3: The entire Fleet Foxes set at the Moore :: Call us crazy, call us under-a-rock dwellers, call us sometimes blindingly addicted to varying degrees of full-throttle indie rock and decadent post-twee — but one thing you couldn't call us before this year were folks that were well-versed in all things Fleet Foxes. Another one for the heard-of, listened-to but hadn't immersed-in file, we were casual FF fans at best, with an appreciation for everything they'd done and all that we could see they were capable of — until we had the fortune of seeing them play at the Moore Theater earlier this year, where they took to the stage for two nights with the Cave Singers (hello, PERFECT LINEUP). On top of All The Obvious Things That Are Perfect About The Moore, they {the venue, that is} knocked it clear out of the park by leaving the entire first five-ish rows of "pit" area completely free of seats, so photographers and fans alike were able to come right up to the stage for what wound up being an absolutely one-of-a-kind experience. We left with soaring hearts and adjectives from friends like "absolute" and "cathedral" swirling through our mental notebooks, finally realizing firsthand exactly what it is that this band does that makes them so fucking great.

And PS, while that isn't the best photo ever to grace our pages, it's actually one of two film shots we were able to coax out of our non-digital camera at the show that night, and we're so excited to have it tucked in a shoebox for posterity's sake. {original post and photos} {Fleet Foxes site}

{Modern Luv / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #2: Modern Luv :: Another so-early-we-almost-forgot-it shot! Earlier this year we were delighted to help out our friend Mark Siano with some promotional photography for his sellout show at the Triple Door, Modern Luv. We put the shoot together at the Fred Wildlife Refuge on Capitol Hill, and had an absolute blast of a time conveying the trials and tribulations of twenty-first century lovers with faces, cables, and cords. If memory serves, these guys and gals are taking this show to the Big City {no, not Spokane — New York!} in early 2012, and will be doing a few shows at the Triple Door as a fundraiser to get them all out on the road with a few extra nickels to rub together. Keep an eye out on the internet for details! {a zillion super-fun photos from the Modern Luv shoot} {Mark Siano} {The Triple Door event page}

{Mike Doughty and Laura Musselman / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #2: Mike Doughty :: Technically, the moment we loved so much wasn't just Mike Doughty's set — which was indeed fantastic — but moreso getting to experience the performance and an impromptu photo shoot afterward with one of his biggest fans. We stood right up front at Neumos for an incredibly fun set by openers Moon Hooch, and then proceeded to spend the next hour experiencing the true joy of an MD show via the exuberance of our friend Laura {yep, same one from the road trip at the top of the post}, who's been a Mike Doughty fan since before most people knew who the heck Mike Doughty even was (is). And to top it all off, she extended the bliss of the night by doing a killer mini-shoot with them after the show, both in digital and full photo-nerd Holgaroid format which you can check out on her website here. Truly one for the books. {more photos from the Mike Doughty show} {Laura's main site}

{Cristina Bautista / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #1: Cristina Bautista {Visqueen} :: And all that fandom takes us to our absolute favorite photo of the year, festival or otherwise — this is a particularly rock-out moment from none other than the famed Cristina Bautista, holding the stage captive at the Neptune as part of Visqueen's final show. There's little more we can say about it outside of it being 110% awesome, and the fact that Cristina herself is 110% awesome, and that the final Visqueen show was not only 110% awesome but also sliced through with that hopeful, wonderful melancholy that comes when something so great has drawn to a close — and that we're so thankful the camera was there to capture all of that shining through this fantastically girl-power-y moment. If we could pick one photo to propel our inspirational juju to ride into 2012 on, this is it! {more photos from the final Visqueen show} {more Cristina Bautista}

{Andrea Gibson / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #1: Andrea Gibson :: While it's not exactly easy to grab a flattering photo of a spoken word artist, both due to the nature of the performance and the utter silence in the downbeats, we can use this one in an attempt to convey the utter enchantment that is an evening with Andrea Gibson. She took the stage at the Fremont Abbey at the beginning of December and it was literally one of the most compelling, heartwrenching displays we've ever had the privilege to witness, this year or otherwise — and you know us, we go to a lot of shows. Don't let the "spoken word" / slam poetry vibe poke you in the no-no place: as we said in our preview of the show, if you are going to hitch your wagon to one of the few true artists in this field, Andrea Gibson Is The One. Do yourself a favor and get caught up on all of her existing work, recordings, writings, and mailing list — and be sure to show up early for a front-row seat the next time she's within a few hour drive of your town. Yes, a few hours: she's that good. {more photos from Andrea's performance} {website}

And that, dear imaginary readers, draws these photographic best-of snapshots and moments posts to a close! We hope you have a safe, happy, and utterly righteous new year celebration — we'll be ringing in 2012 in style and putting all the great vibes out there to help us celebrate our tenth year. Can you believe it? We can't hardly wait!

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Categories
Elbow Fleet Foxes Gillian Welch Imaginary Scoop Live Show Review On The Road Pela The Head and the Heart We Are Augustines Yellow Ostrich

Austin City Limits 2011: three days of sun, sweat, and total bliss! {pt. II}

{We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{This is part two of our photo-coverage from the 2011 Austin City Limits festival — check out part one here!}

The second half of this year's trip to Zilker Park was even better than the first, as ACL's chock-ful-o' bands and radness vibe kept on strong. Strains of Wanda Jackson and Cee Lo filtered through the late-day dusk as we crowded under the Vista Equity stage tent to catch a few songs (and a glimpse) of Gillian Welch. And was it ever worth fighting the crowd — that sparse, stripped-away version of "Ohio" was absolutely one of the high points of our Saturday!

The night blew us away with huge sets from TV on the Radio, My Morning Jacket, and Stevie Wonder — and in what felt like moments later we were back in the morning for more. Yellow Ostrich, Mariachi El Bronx, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.The Head and the Heart, the Walkmen, Broken Social Scene, and Joseph Arthur filled our sweltering Sunday with amazement — but the two best sets of the day {and the weekend, IOHO} went to Elbow and We Are Augustines. Hands-down, no contest.

Here's a few shots from between the raindrops!

Gillian Welch with Dave Rawlings, slaying a packed house tent:

{Gillian Welch / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Gillian Welch / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Yellow Ostrich starting up our Sunday:

{Yellow Ostrich / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Yellow Ostrich / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Yellow Ostrich / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

The Head and the Heart, who literally amassed every single person who was at the festival at that moment to their stage with a spot-on performance — it was crazy!

{The Head and the Heart / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{The Head and the Heart / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Elbow. Sweet holy mother of all things music, ELBOW. The earth stopped in it's orbit, a hushed reverence came over the throngs of superfans, the whole crowd practically holding it's collective breath between verse and chorus. They lived up to every expectation we had, and then some!

{Elbow / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Elbow / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Elbow / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Seriously, the sky opened up and did this about a song and a half into the set:

{Elbow / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

And the other Best In Show for the day / weekend, We Are Augustines. Not only were we able to catch up with them for a bit in the media area — nicest guys on the planet, PS! — we were able to spend their whole set front and center at the BMI stage. If you haven't done it already, pick up the newest album over at their site. Whether you're a new WAA fan or you're part of the post-Pela crowd, you'll love the sound and love what they do live even more. Promise!

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

 {We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

We did catch a minute of Hayes Carll and Randy Newman, and heard Arcade Fire slaying the soundsystem from tens of thousands of people away, but nothing tops hearing this as the night wound down, filtering out across the grounds… all dark and warm and summertime Texas night. Bravo, Fleet Foxes! Bravo.

Thanks again for showing us such a good weekend, Texas! We'll see you next time around!

{Check out all the shots from the weekend in our imaginary flickr pool! All images from ACL 2011 by Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Categories
Aloe Blacc Brandi Carlile Bright Eyes Charles Bradley Cold War Kids Elbow Fitz and the Tantrums Fleet Foxes Gillian Welch Imaginary Scoop Mavis Staples Moondoggies On The Road Phosphorescent Ray LaMontagne Stevie Wonder Telekinesis! The Cave Singers The Head and the Heart The Walkmen We Are Augustines Yellow Ostrich Zilker Park

Here we go, Austin! Here we go! *clap!* *clap!*

Yup. There sure are a lot of exclamation points up in that headline, and with good cause: we're heading off for Austin City Limits this weekend, to catch some bands and some tan in the near-hundred-degree sun. Between pre-trip laundering, hydrating, charging our camera batteries and getting all that three-ounce-or-less business handled for the flight, we thought we'd take a minute to let you know about some of the acts we're particularly excited about this year — especially since there seems to be a particularly strong PNW presence to be reckoned with every single day of the 'fest.

{Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Brandi Carlile / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

The start of the fest on Friday is kind of like easing in to that hot, soapy, not-too-dirty-yet festival bath. Hometown heroine Brandi Carlile will be getting things going early in the day, and we're hoping her sweet sounds will put us in the right kind of mood to slide over into Ray LaMontagne's late afternoon set — they're both playing at the AMD stage starting around 2p. As the day darkens, we hope to get a little more gritty with the Cave Singers, and while Cold War Kids and Bright Eyes blow their sets out back-to-back {on the Honda and AMD stages respectively, for those of you following along in your custom-made schedules at home}, we might have to weasel our way forward to get a bigger-than-Bumbershoot-sized helping of Charles Bradley as he closes out the Vista Equity stage just before forever-legend Mavis Staples. As to whether we end day one with Kanye West or Coldplay — my vote's on Kanye. But seeing as the fest is all sold out except for a few Sunday passes, we might not be able to make it close enough for a photo report. Fingers crossed!

Pending crowd surges (and weather permitting), we hope to also make time to get a little Delta Spirit, Smith Westerns, Kurt Vile, and Santigold into our schedules too!

{Aloe Blacc / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Telekinesis / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Then, we'll be off to sweet, sweet Saturday. Also known as Dance Party Day. Also known as Stevie Motherfucking Wonder Day.

No matter which way you arrange the docket we'll be starting our day with Telekinesis, and then shifting over to catch Aloe Blacc & The Grand Scheme on one of the main {Bud Light} stages — and at that point, it'll be pretty tempting to park our white-girl selves there for the day to have a chance at even a relative glimpse of Stevie Wonder's headlining set at 8p. Mind you, it wouldn't be the end of the world to take the day in with sets from J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Allison Krauss & Union Station, and Cee Lo. However, with glittery gems like Phosphorescent, Iron & Wine, the Moondoggies, Fitz & The Tantrums, Gillian Welch, Wanda Jackson, and My Morning Jacket shining their respective love-lights all over the park — we might just have to venture out to see some of it. This will likely be determined by a coin toss, and you'll just have to wait for the photos sometime next week to find out what happens…

{The Head and the Heart / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Easy like Sunday morning, for sure! Yellow Ostrich, yes. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., yes yes. The Head and the Heart, yes to the frigging YES. The Walkmen? Yes. Broken Social Scene? YES. But holy hell in a handbasket, ELBOW {!!!!!!!!!}. Which, on some level, is just as mind-melting of a concept for us as being in the presence of Stevie Wonder the night before. That's a stretch, of course — but for us, Elbow : minor league alt.indie.ihavenoface-ness :: Stevie Wonder : major league legendary status-ness.

Sunday's second half of the day must-sees that we'll be running from stage to stage to catch include (but are not limited to) Gomez, We Are Augustines, Fleet Foxes, and Hayes Carll, all of whom combo together to put us into a reflective, insightful, foot-moving, sun-kissed state. And capping the night off will be none other than Arcade Fire, who'll be launching their modern anthems out into the sweltering nighttime.

Here's to keeping track of our luggage, our earplugs and our water bottles! We'll have a full report with photos next week post-fest.

{Photos by Victoria VanBruinisse. From top: Cave Singers at the Moore (2011), Brandi Carlile at the Crocodile (2010), Aloe Blacc at Sasquatch! (2011), Telekinesis at the Crocodile (2011), and The Head and the Heart at the Comet (2010).}

Categories
Fleet Foxes Hype Imaginary Scoop Live Show Review Moore Theater The Cave Singers

Fleet Foxes + Cave Singers = a mindbendingly beautiful night at the Moore

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

There’s one word that comes to mind above all others in regards to Monday night’s Fleet Foxes / Cave Singers show at the Moore — and that word is simply stunning. The impeccable sound, lighting, and setup of the Moore made for a veritable breeding ground of amazing, as two of the Pacific Northwest’s best alt.beardcore bands brought their respective brands of greatness to the stage. The Cave Singers let loose with a tight, polished, best-of catalog-spanning set that washed over us like the force of nature they are — followed by this imaginary’s inaugural live Fleet Foxes set.

{The Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{The Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{The Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{The Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{The Cave Singers / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

There’s a damn good reason why those Foxes have been getting so much press, and that reason is sheer, unadulterated talent — delivered with some of the best overall musicianship around, in our humble imagianry opinions. For well over an hour and a half, we were assaulted {in the very best of ways} with flawless harmony, a warm stage presence, and builds inside of songs that amounted to literal arsenals of sound which seemed to be coming from a bigger place than just those five-odd folks. Their own brand of personal creativity, spliced through with moments of old Crosby, Stills and Nash albums and patches of sunlight — the kind that bursts into the car windows outside of a clearing of trees on a back road with your favorite records on the stereo — made us see why this band is a force to be reckoned with.

Bound together with love, some kind of raw, unprocessed organic not-too-sweet honey and a dedication the craft of songwriting, the Fleet Foxes deserve every instant of success they’ve earned. Believe the hype.

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse. Fleet Foxes photos appear here courtesy of permission from the band and are not to be reproduced without permission.}

Categories
Fleet Foxes Record Review Sub Pop

Helplessness Blues

Say you’re trapped. By illness, by isolation. When I was an asthmatic kid, trapped in my parents’ trailer on hot, pollen-piled summer days, the best thing I could think of was the Cascade Mountains. We would drive from the Tri-Cities to Seattle a few times during the year, and it was so refreshing to the spirit to see the snow-capped peaks, feel the brisk air pulling into the lungs, the 70s sounds of soft rock swirling on the car radio.

It was the perfect antidote to being the youngest in a family of hard-drinking black sheep, alone in the noise of my rebellious siblings, the deep bass of my father’s jazz, the yelling between my parents. I would shroud myself in my sister’s Neil Young albums, and dream about the next time we drove over “the Pass.”

“So now I am older / than my mother and father,” Fleet Foxes‘ Robin Pecknold sings on the opening track to their new (second) (Sub Pop) album, the (Shins, Built to Spill, et al) Phil Ek-produced Helplessness Blues. “Than they had their third daughter / Now what does that say about me?” Yeah, adults seemed to get older faster back then, right? But for those of us with so many burdens, health-wise, of spirit and body, we seek that bracing clear and clean moment.

The way the barbershop-of-monk’s voices on this track float around Pecknold’s hymn to himself, in ways musicians can describe but people who write about music alas can only describe and compare. “Oh man, what I used to be? Oh man, oh my, oh me.” This is “Montezuma” and he sings of jewelry tarnished too quickly, thrown into the tomb too soon. It sounds like an endless Sunday, a kid stuck inside a house on a bright, sunny weekend day she can’t be part of. It’s all regret, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesomely beautiful.

Please trust me: This album is no burden. It isn’t an album you have to like, or have an opinion of. You can leave it to others, it will be found otherwise. Its sonic riches never stop giving, so don’t begin anything you can’t finish. Morgan Henderson has brought in his upright bass and woodwinds since last we heard Robin’s old friend Skyler Skjelset (acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, water harp), Casey Wescott (keys, Marxophone, music box, Crumar bass, Moog, Tremoloa, Tibetan singing bowls, harmonium, etc.), Josh Tillman (vocals, drum kit, percussion), Christian Wargo (vocals, bass), and some additional players.
Musically, this is something to put on the shelf with Astral Weeks or Blue of anything any older friend set you on. Something comfortable, and maybe got you high or buzzed on caffeine, and played the full way through without speaking once (when they usually yammer all the time through everything else).

“Bedouin Dress” is about debt that can’t be repaid, “the only regret of my youth.” This second song doesn’t sound like it’s heading anywhere too interesting in the first few bars, but then some weird pipes clamber about and the lyrical metaphor is extended about (eternal) returning and it’s like those alarming Paul Simon ballads about reluctant prophets that glimmered all over AM radio among the novelty songs and riff rock. “One day that’s mine,” as if the moment can be held. “In a geometric patterned dress.” You begin to notice the patterns, on returning.

The title of the album gets carried along by each track, and its obvious link to Young’s own “Helpless,” one of his most autobiographical songs. “Sim Sala Bim” is a burst of chimey exoticism closer to their long-ago debut, reminding us that Fleet Foxes did the sophomore auteur-in-the-70s-style, when rock music fans had to wait three years between masterpieces. A taste of D. Jurado is in there, though, telling us it isn’t a reissue track from a lost gem of an LP. Next up abruptly, “Battery Kinzie” thrushes with imagery of physical decay and spiritual servitude, with a timpani-driven sand march walking through the dawn (“do not wander through the dawn”).

If I was making my own high concept mix of this album to remember how I want to, the way that Scott Miller (Game Theory, Loud Family) does with Pro Tools for songs in his nifty song-by-year book “Music: What Happened,” it would probably begin on the fifth track, “The Plains/Bitter Dancer.” RIYL: Richard Thompson’s end of the rainbow falling from grace death waltzes, a more mordant Crosby Stills & Nash than your gentle bearded uncle is used to, the kind of FM transmission that chills you at the beginning of a Saturday morning in which you are to face the first day after a shattered relationship. “Tell me again my only son / Tell me again my only one,” reminding us of the rose and the briar and Lord Randall in its first half, the murdered girl, the slain love, your heart’s martyr. The second half of the medley is an Ennio Morricone gospel shuffle, the choir voices not even needing Joan Baez to accompany the finale after the execution of a couple of anarchists on screen.

“Helplessness Blues” is back to the too-smart, allergic, anti-cog of Simon’s songs, its strumming could be from an urban basketball court, sent to parents who never thought their wayward son had a chance. My own parents are dead, but I have the feeling Pecknold’s folks can hear the Nic Jones and Bert Jansch and John Jacob Niles in all of this and be proud of their depressed, so aware child. If he was my kid I would play this album over and over, giddy from a lad admitting things we wait generations for songwriters to confess. “I’ll come back to you sometime soon, myself.”

This is the center of the album (not just its initial single). That you can destroy something beautiful, or watch it being crushed and thrown into a fire and thus complicit in its demise, and know that you will benefit from this destruction. Because it means that you will have something to say, a song to sing, because something was sacrificed for you. And it may have been your own happiness. In order to remain helpless. As Nick Cave told me for the Karen Dalton In My Own Time liner notes, “Artists are salty bastards.” Sometimes salt preserves what you want to make, but is far too strong to taste for those who love us. Thus, according to the most recent issue of Uncut (in an interview with Allan Jones), we find out that Pecknold lost love during the creation of the album this song is the title track for. And he continues to wonder throughout, could there have been any other way? “Someday I’ll be like the man on the screen.” A hero, perhaps? Even merely a lover?

“The Cascades” is a string-swept space without words, in which the final half of the album begins. It starts anew with “Lorelai” which at first seems like the necessary transcendent pop song required for a wide-screen drive-in end of a decade album like this. “Norwegian Wood” and Dylan’s “Fourth Time Around” has been noted (thanks, Mr. Jones), but I hear a lot of Fleetwood Mac too, before and after Buckingham/Nicks.

This track would have probably been my first pick as a single track, even before you hear “I can see now / we were like dust on the window. I was like old news to you then.” The great thing about all these groups I’ve been comparing the Fleet Foxes to, especially Mac and Simon, is how sad and nostalgic they seem for a moment just occurring. As if you need that sadness, to make the love meaningful. The lover just out of reach must be miles and years away, for the reunion to be so warm, so wanted, so real. I once remember reading a Japanese short story about a woman who only thought about her lover when he was gone. That was the only time her heart could articulate itself, was when he was present only in memory. Wish I could remember the name of that story.

“Someone You’d Admire” sounds like it would be a positive vibes song, but but it’s really a chorale of resignation. A doomed one, at that. He probably won’t be someone you admire, is what he’s saying. Because the singer is trapped to this, to creating out of his pain and aloneness, and such a wish is as brief and hesitant to truly feel as this ballad. I once had a therapist who burst into tears — twice — because she said she pitied what my mind did to me. How it seemed to long to hurt me, to keep me from being good to myself, in her opinion. A counselor cries once, she might be having a bad day, you know? And another, a job counselor, who met with me after I got off the night shift, who said I smelled like death. I couldn’t get that out of my mind (the smell of death) and she hadn’t been emotional about it at all.

“When you talk you hardly even look in my eyes / in the morning.” This will probably be the most popular song, “The Shrine/The Argument,” which in its long, lean body cycles between near deathly quiet and big raga bursts of more timpani and chanting. “Green apples hang from the tree / they belong only to me.” This is the song that sounds most like the world’s casket lid closing, even if the earlierThe Plains/Bitter Dancer” was supposed to be the death dirge. The horns squonk and squirrel out from a black pyramid at the center of the track, like a slow dub of the ones in the Violent Femmes’ notorious track “Black Girls,” although I think Dolphy or Kenton’s cacophonous work with Bob Graettinger might have been more in mind. No resolution, either, they just scamper off like half-stepped-on scorpions into the dimming corners of a sound-desert.

“Blue Spotted Tail” is still tear-stained, but it’s a soft weeping after the long-pent burst, the blaze of sun faded behind the buildings now that you’re back in the City. Pecknold softly hums, as it trains into Wargo’s vocal arrangements for the only (near) straight-ahead rock song here, “Grown Ocean.” This would probably be the easiest place for people to begin with the album, and it’s telling about Fleet Foxes — especially now — that they chose to make it an anthemic epilogue, sweeter on the nerves and about licking wounds, but not beginning this inner odyssey with it. You have to earn it, the way that these musicians had to work so very hard to create something they would feel like owning. The most important thing to know is that they have. And now we have it, too.

Categories
Arthur & Yu Champagne Champagne Common Market D. Black Fences Fleet Foxes Grand Archives Head Like A Kite Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop J. Tillman Joshua Morrison Kinski Le Loup Mad Rad Moondoggies Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Pearly Gate Music Pica Beats Sera Cahoone Talbot Tagora The Blakes The Cave Singers The Maldives The Saturday Knights Visqueen

GIVE-ing season arrived this week — with a 30+ track local artist compilation

Fresh off the presses from our inboxes comes this week’s launch of GIVE — 30 downloadable tracks from a variety of Seattle artists, who are donating their songs to benefit Arts Corps and local area foodbanks. The $7.00 (!) compilation, which was produced, curated, and funded by Caffe Vita, will be available online here. Physical compilations can be picked up at all Caffe Vita locations, Easy Street Records, Sonic Boom Records, University Book Store, The Crocodile, EMP, Neumo’s, and Sorrento Hotel. The in-hand compilations will include a physical card with a redemption code for the download, and a prettied-up sleeve to make it a ready-to-give present.

Here’s the full track listing — nearly all of which are exclusive to the compilation:

Arthur & Yu: “Magic Mountain”
The Blakes: “Parking Lot”
Sera Cahoone: “Love’s Gonna Live Here”
The Cave Singers: “Growing Palm”
Champagne Champagne (feat. Fences): “Victim of the Modern Age”
Common Market: “The Picture of My Delorean Gray”
D. Black: “On the Go”
Fatal Lucciano: “Gangsta”
Fences: “Sadie”
Fleet Foxes: “Mykonos”
Grand Archives: “Wake Up”
Head Like a Kite: “Director’s Cut”
Hey Marseilles: “From a Terrace”
Kinski: “Whatever Happened to Madeleine Stowe”
Le Loup: “Forgive Me”
Mad Rad: “Love in a Strange World”
The Maldives: “In the End”
Gabriel Mintz: “Safeway”
Moondoggies: “Side of the Road”
Joshua Morrison: “Mammoth Cave”
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band: “Bitter Cold”
Pearly Gate Music: “Big Escape” [wow!]
The Pica Beats: “Durian Shakes”
The Saturday Nights: “Go!”
Talbot Tagora: “Ichthus Hop”
J. Tillman: “Earthly Bodies”
Visqueen: “Hand Me Down”

The best part of it all is that a full 100% of the sales will go directly to GIVE beneficiaries: Arts Corps, Ballard Food Bank, Rainier Valley Food Bank, University District Food Bank, and West Seattle Food Bank. The next-to-best part is that there’s more coming, by way of tracks from the Long Winters, Ben Gibbard, David Bazan, and the Dutchess and the Duke — purchasers will be notified as the tracks become available. To trump all of that, there will be a companion benefit concert featuring Grand Archives, D. Black, Grant Olsen of Arthur & Yu, Kinski, and a roster of other artists at the Crocodile on December 3rd for $15.00.

No matter which way you like it best, make sure to give some Seattle for the holidays! With a roster and a beneficiary list like this, you just can’t go wrong.

Categories
Fleet Foxes Imaginary Scoop Robin Pecknold Sub Pop

Photo(s) of the day: Robin Pecknold headlining the A Drink for the Kids benefit

From the most lovely and talented Sarah Jurado, here’s a shot of Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold, headlining last night’s A Drink for the Kids Vera Project Benefit.

Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, photo by Sarah Jurado

I’ve gotta admit, I didn’t recognize him for a moment, what with the shorn locks. Nice new ‘do, Robin! (Or at least, new to me.) And because I can’t resist a tender sibling moment, check out this fantastic shot of Robin with his (likewise lovely and talented) sis, Aja, who joined him onstage to cover Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

Robin and Aja Pecknold

The night also featured performances by local faves Grand Hallway and Throw Me the Statue. Sarah has a sweet writeup of the event over on her blog,  and more photos over at the TIG Flickr pool. Enjoy!

Categories
Band of Horses Fleet Foxes Grand Archives Horse Feathers Imaginary Scoop Iron and Wine The Cave Singers

Lumberjack Rock

Chris B's Schmindie News Roundup and it's ensuing comments lit a fire under me to write this little blurb I've been meaning to get out for a while. While some, Chris B included, may feel this way:

I'm regularly asked to define schmindie, so, to me, schmindie is boring indie rock that gets the benefit of the doubt because it's "indie". Generally, if it has guys with beards and/or acoustic guitars, you're probably going to need to wake me when it's over.

I tend to disagree. I totally love me some good ol' acoustic indie-folk rock and I feel like there is so much quality stuff coming out of Seattle right now. For the past year or so, I've often found myself in discussions with other local music lovers regarding the post-grunge Seattle sound and I've heard it called several things: "Campfire Rock", "Trucker Rock", "Beard Rock" and now this "Schmindie" label.

Myself, I believe I've got the perfect term coined for the new genre: "Lumberjack Rock" (which may also be expanded into "Lumberjack Folk").

I'll provide a little more detail on what qualifies as Lumberjack to me:

  • Dudes with beards, the shaggier the better
  • Acoustic guitar presence
  • Flannel shirts and big belt buckles
  • Multi-part harmonies
  • Dirt
  • A band name with some sort of animal or pastoral reference
  • Beginnings or a regional presence in either Washington, Oregon, or Idaho (thereby negating the "Southern Rock" genre)

Prolific local lumberjacks:

Iron & Wine – At my first Iron & Wine show in 2002, I saw a dirty kid walking around the Crocodile with this huge soup-saver beard and wondered to myself why this trailer park guy would be at a show in Seattle. That kid ended up being Sam Beam, the granddaddy of all Lumberjacks. He makes this list because he signed to Sub Pop and practically lives here. Before that show, no one on the Seattle indie-hipster scene was yet sporting the now ubiquitous hibernator beard. I hold Sam Beam personally responsible for every bird's nest beard from Ballard to Belltown to Beacon Hill.

Band of Horses – Even though they moved to South Carolina or wherever, they began here and I don't care what anyone says – they're still a Northwestern lumberjack band to me and always will be. Ben Bridwell's voice makes my heart soar like a hawk. Plus they spawned the equally awesome Grand Archives.

Fleet Foxes – DUH…

Cave Singers – Pete Quirk looks like a dirty trucker. I love him.

Horse Feathers – From Portland by way of Idaho, everyone should go check out Horse Feathers if they get a chance. Their music hoarsely whispers "Gold Rush" and makes me swoon a little bit.

Can you think of any others? Back me up on this, Lumberjack Lovers!

Categories
Fleet Foxes Imaginary Scoop Iron and Wine The Arcade Fire The Flaming Lips Wilco

Schmindie News Roundup

Judging by how fast tickets for The Shins' and Iron and Wine's (separate) two-night stands sold out, everyone loves their schmindie. So, as a public service announcement, I'm compiling some schmindie-related news stories in one neat post.

I feel like one of those poor college kids who get an internship at Media Matters and it means they have to watch "Glenn Beck" every night. I'm regularly asked to define schmindie, so, to me, schmindie is boring indie rock that gets the benefit of the doubt because it's "indie". Generally, if it has guys with beards and/or acoustic guitars, you're probably going to need to wake me when it's over.

  • Fleet Foxes are releasing a 7" single to their song "Mykonos" on Tuesday and have announced a North American tour. The dates (which I'm taking from their MySpace page) for that are:

5/25/09 George, WA Sasquatch Festival – Gorge Amphitheatre
7/29/09 Washington DC 9:30 Club**
7/30/09 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory**
7/31/09 Jersey City, NJ All Points West – Liberty State Park
8/1/09 Newport, RI Newport Folk Festival – Fort Adams State Park
8/03/09 Montreal, QC Metropolis Theatre**
8/04/09 Toronto, ON Massey Hall**
8/05/09 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Theatre **
8/07/09 Chicago, IL Lollapalooza – Grant Park
8/09/09 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue ** (on-sale May 9th)

  • If you missed your chance at getting tickets to see Iron and Wine at The Triple Door for Tuesday night's show, he's playing an acoustic set at the Sonic Boom on Capitol Hill Tuesday night at 6pm.
  • Someone pitched a 33 1/3 book on "Forthcoming 2009 Album" by Wilco (which got exactly as far in the process as my proposal) and now said album has a title. It's (and I really wish I was making this up) Wilco (The Album). The first track is called (and I really, really wish I was making this up) "Wilco (The Song)". Pitchfork has the details.
  • Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips has apologized to The Arcade Fire for all that shit he talked about them. Pitchfork reported that he said, "I wish whatever had been said wouldn't have been taken as such a defiant statement from the Flaming Lips, because it wasn't…I really feel bad about it. I like enough of their music. The idea that I'm somehow against them…I'm not!"
  • Tickets are sold out for Sasquatch! on Saturday and Sunday. Only Monday tickets remain. I cannot get you in to any of the days so please stop asking me.