Dent May Gospel Music Grand Archives Imaginary Scoop Neko Case Porcelain Raft The School Tigercats

What songs are on your summer playlist?

Capitol Hill Block Party
{Photo:  Steve Louie}

The weather has finally started to cooperate and prove it still has a sunny side.  All this sun-infused summer bliss means two things:

1. It's time to work on our summer music mix tapes
2. The Capitol Hill Block Party is right around the corner, and we all had better start prepping!

This Thursday, June 28th around 10.20am, I'm going to be on KOUW / 94.9FM's Weekday show with Larry Mizell Jr. (KEXP and master of most rad Seattle music things) and Beth (Vera Project) to talk about those two very important things.

What is your "Summer 2012 Song?"

Are you going the way of Best Coast's "The Only Place" or is there something from the new Grimes album that is on repeat as you drink in the sun's rays?  Right now, besides a lot of sparkly British indie-pop (Tigercats! The School!), I've got the new Dent May, The Features, and Gospel Music in high rotation.

My head is spinning as I peruse the Capitol Hill Block Party day by day schedule.  For example, are the Sunday line-up fates really asking us to choose between missing the end of Neko Case's set (who starts at 7:45pm on the main stage) and the beginning of Grand Archives (who start at 8:30pm on the Barboza stage)?  Or the end of Grand Archives and the beginning of Porcelain Raft (who start at 9pm back on the main stage)?  

Who are you most excited about who's on this year's Capitol Hill Block Party schedule?  

Let's all get summer style!

Army Navy Grand Archives Imaginary Scoop The Crocodile

Win tickets to Army Navy (opening for Grand Archives) at the Croc! {11/18}

Super silly, can't-look-away, of Wayne-ish antics await you in the video above from Army Navy — it's the official take for the band's recent single "Ode to Janice Melt," and it's about seventeen different kinds of cute! If you dig their sound, you're in luck: Army Navy has the main support slot at this week's upcoming Croc show, warming the stage up for the one and only Grand Archives. And we've got a pair of tickets to give away!

Just send an email to tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com anytime between now and 10a on Wednesday, November 16th. Be sure to include "SendMeToArmyNavy" in the subject line so we know it's you! We'll choose a winner at random and make sure you're on the guest list for Friday night's show.

Good luck!

{21+ / $12 adv / 8p. Tickets availabe at the Croc's website here.}

Aviation Records Grand Archives Imaginary Scoop S See Me River The Tractor Tavern

See Me River play album release tonight, with Grand Archives and S. at the Tractor

Photo by Kyle Johnson

Tonight is a three band deep jubilee of American self-expression as smart and intimate as a poem by Walt Whitman, and as big and overflowing with talent as a Seattle Carter Family.

The Tractor hosts See Me River‘s album release for The One That Got A Wake, their latest and best album so far. They’re middle in the bill, but SMR’s latest songs (among the best: “A Drink To The Kids,” “Pasithea Will Try,” and scopious character study and album opener “Heroine”) are more ample in composition and have a flux in both lyrical insights and musical twists than ever. If you’ve often been blown away by the majestic pull and sweep of the Kerry Zettel and his dark-garbed collective of players’ performances live but have been waiting for less minimalist and doomy undertones, the bracing, sobering wake up call of The One That Got A Wake will be the one that sucks you in. Check out the new songs and see for yourself, and I bet you’ll be walking away with a copy tonight.

Grand Archives are headlining, and I still hold to my somewhat minority assertion that their previous album, Keep In Mind Frankenstein, is a beautiful dark horse of from-the-gut Seattle-icana among a stampede of posing and precious evergreen indie pop. Chucking out the genre boundaries that make a lot of current bands want to be liked, “Topsy’s Revenge” and “Oslo Novelist” feature both adept storytelling, real singing, and experimental details found when a band stretches itself. Perhaps too ambitious for those who don’t want to stray from the mellow mob vibe (“Can we do this?”), Grand Archives might have overestimated the time most critics put into the actual listening of records.

Opening is Jenn Ghetto, in the guise of S. Ghetto is a vulnerable-sounding, if often pissed-off songwriter (“Did she just say that?”) whose urgency transcends the bedroom dirge of like-sounding bands. Ghetto is one of the players in legendary Carissa’s Wierd, and uses her “S.” as a more confidential platform for songs about betrayal and need that are definitely unsnug.

Three dusky, kind of blue, but definitely delightful indie rock bands to see back to back tonight. Definitely my pick for the evening.

{See Me River photo by Kyle Johnson}

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.

Grand Archives Record Review Sub Pop

Keep In Mind Frankenstein

Keep In Mind Frankenstein was recorded at a studio called Paradise Sound in a spiritually and economically crippled town called Index, WA. This berg was no paradise though, with many necrotic mining town incidents, including a rumored double suicide somehow helping to inspire the album’s dim, moist feel.

What was supposed to be Grand Archive’s glory-to-glory follow up to their assured self-titled Sub Pop debut was instead swallowed by spontaneous new material, sung in first takes in nocturnal bursts of inspiration as the band were isolated in the loony-boonies. (I won’t imagine the libations, but absinthe and opium seem possible.) The Furies-style haunted backing vocals of Sera Cahoone and Jenn Ghetto returned to help previous bandmate and Grand Archives leader Mat Brooke (singer, songwriter, guitar) create something as beautiful as it is disturbing. Everything that had been prepared for Frankenstein had been jettisoned save for “Dig That Crazy Grave,” which, despite its title, is placed in the middle of the second half of the album as some relief to the gorgeous Washington State Death Trip swooning and moaning around it.

The first song after all is “Topsy’s Revenge,” in which it seems the ghost of the elephant who was filmed being electrocuted by Thomas Edison craves the burning down of the carnival town he was sacrificed in. This is one of those pretty little vocal-based numbers that creep up on you, seeming like perfectly pleasant contemporary indie folk-rock until you realize that Brooke is channeling a world of angst and his mournful repeated finish feels both more compelling and threatening on repeated playing.

With recording help again by the hotly-buzzed about producer Ben Kersten (The Lights, Panda & Angel, Blood Brothers), Brooke pulled in an old Radio Shack Theremin, and designed destruction into the creation of the album by making an enormous glass harp out of wine glasses, which he smashed to bits after putting the unholy sound in songs like the melodically gripping “Oslo Novelist.” Touches like these would mean little if this were just another freak folk album or bland singer-songwriter faire; but these are meticulously painted musical backgrounds for some astonishingly improvised performances, with excellent lyrics delivered with dark but restrained emotion.

I almost hate to push the black, weird elements of the album, as that might hinder commercial sales of a collection of songs simply superior to most in the band’s emergent genre. I am into finely created depressive stuff, so I’m going to be playing this all year — but probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t both so well thought out and sounding as if it was created in a moment of uncanny possession. Frankenstein is no stitched-up sophomore album for the soft beard crowd; its layers may reveal a true masterpiece as we return to it again and again over the next few months. That I intend to says enough right there.

Grand Archives Live Show Review See Me River The Crocodile

Grand Archives and See Me River at the Crocodile

I’d like to register a complaint against the sound guy at the Crocodile on Friday. No matter where you were standing it felt like your ears were clogged, or your head was wrapped in cellophane. Having never seen Grand Archives live before, I wrote off a lot of their shortcomings to the poor sound quality. However, upon reflection, I have to say it was truly just a boring show.

Packed chock-full of indie musician stars, Mat Brooke’s follow up to Band of Horses with drummer Curtis Hall (The Jeunes), bassist Jeff Montano (The New Mexicans), and guitarist/keyboard player Ron Lewis (Ghost Stories), this band’s reputation precedes it. But for a band touted for their innovative use of unique instruments, this four-piece did little more than strum and bang. Since when did lap slide guitar become something unusual? Maybe they were referring to the harmonica at the beginning of “Birds?” Doubtful.

Most of their old material sounded flat, lacking in variety or catchy hooks. “Sleepdriving” lost all the nuanced lulls that allowed the slightest of climaxes to be powerful. The violin on this song off their self-titled first album was missing, and it made for a completely placid song. My favorite song, the Bee-Gees inspired “Index Moon,” was also watered down and ended early, while other songs dragged on for too long.

“Orange Juice” was one of the few songs that didn’t feel like labor. In fact it was a short period of respite in their almost entirely slow and mundane set. “Torn Blue Foam Couch” was saved for the encore as if it was a reward for the people left in the slowly thinning crowd.

Their new material like “Fireworks,” a song heavily steeped in country and slide, was hard to pick out. “Silver Among The Gold” was the only exception to this, and felt like the only upbeat song played that evening. The bridge was overwhelmed by a danceable drumbeat that felt completely out of character, but at least it was enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this band’s first album and I’m looking forward to Keep In Mind Frankenstein, due out in September. They offer a nice amount of variety while having a strong and consistent identity in relevant country and folk rooted rock. However I think they should reconsider their set list.

I found See Me River more compelling. They played songs off their new EP, a precursor to their upcoming release, Time Machine, out this summer. Their unique sound derives from the interplay between singer Kerry Zettel’s dark and baritone vocal melodies and the instrumental combination of an impressive lineup. Joe Arnone (Charming Snakes and Band Of Horses), Aaron Everett (Das Llamas), Kellie Payne (Charming Snakes and Weirdlords), Tosten Larson (Thorstone, Solo), and Ben Cisner (Tiny Vipers and Windsor For The Derby) are perhaps lesser known on the indie scene than the band members of Grand Archives, but they actually delivered.

Even if they did have three guitarists and a fourth 12-string. Even if the bassist’s antics were offensive and sometimes they really leaned into that cowbell or got nostalgic for the 90’s, even with all this, they were more entertaining than The Grand Archives.

Curious Mystery Grand Archives Imaginary Scoop See Me River The Crocodile

Noise for the Needy choice for Friday night: Grand Archives, See Me River and more…

Grand Archives, a group of veteran indie rockers, is touring for the upcoming release of their second full-length album, Keep In Mind Frankenstein, due out September 15th. That’s the day before my birthday. I’ll think of it as Mat Brooke’s (Band of Horses) present to me.

If you’re enamored with the idea of five part harmonies echoing out over an array of unexpected instruments, then you should probably check out this show. Their dreamy melodies manage to throttle into rollicking, knee-jerk inducing crescendos. And other times they stay subdued, and sometimes they fall into different eras but they always find a core in their folk rock roots.

They are playing The Crocodile tonight, Friday 6/12 with Seattle-based See Me River, touring for their March 2009 EP, a precursor to their upcoming summer release, Time Machine. Their acoustic sound rests on the crest of the New Wave and crashes into a gothic country ocean.

The openers for the show, The Curious Mystery, also a Seattle band, released Rotting Slowly this May on K Records. Listening to Shana Cleveland’s vocals tripping along the curb of a pot-hole ridden road, is like skinning your palms for the first time since you were ten; a bit unexpected and nostalgically pleasing.

Check out “Ed Jackson” from See Me River on KEXP’s song of the day blog.

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!

Black Nite Crash Blitzen Trapper Central Services Damien Jurado Fleet Foxes Grand Archives Gutter Twins Helm's Alee Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop Kaylee Cole Lake Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands Moondoggies Natalie Portman's Shaved Head New Faces Sera Cahoone Shane Tutmarc and the Traveling Mercies Speaker Speaker Tea for Julie The Dutchess and the Duke The Helio Sequence The Kindness Kind The Saturday Knights These Arms Are Snakes Throw Me the Statue Voyager One Your Heart Breaks

Best of 2008: Top Northwest Releases of 2008 Readers' Poll Winners

Upset. The word of the our 2008 Best Northwest Releases of 2008 Readers’ Poll is upset.

With the Fleet Foxes winning readers and critical polls alike, who would’ve thought they wouldn’t get top honors in our humble little Northwest poll? But they didn’t — they placed a distant second to New Faces, another debut record from some very talented, very young Northwest fellas.

We had other surprises as well, with unsigned newcomers such as Hey Marseilles, the Kindness Kind, and Kaylee Cole cracking the top ten, beating out Northwest heavyweights such as Death Cab for Cutie. We did not expect that. And we love it when you surprise us, dear readers.

We imaginaries like to champion the up-and-comers from the Northwest, and our results indicate that you do as well. We think you all also have fabulous taste, as always. Thanks to everyone who participated in our poll. We couldn’t be more proud or thrilled to present the top 50 winners on your behalf…

Winners of the TIG Top Northwest Releases of 2008 Readers’ Poll:

50. Michael VermillionLast Night on Earth {info}
49. Jared Mees and the Grown ChildrenCaffeine, Alchohol, Sunshine, Money {album review}
48. Destruction Island Destruction Island Preaches the New Wilderness
47. Boy Eats Drums Machine Booomboxxx
46. The Apple WarAlarm Bell City {live show review}
45. The Hungry PinesGolden You {info}
44. Hypatia Lake Angels & Demons Space & Time {info}
43. All Girl Summer Fun BandLooking Into It {live show review}
42. The Dandy Warhols…Earth to the Dandy Warhols… {info}
41. By SunlightBy Sunlight
40. Blue ScholarsButter and Guns {info}
39. Parenthetical GirlsEntanglements {album review}
38. Your Heart BreaksLove is a Long Dark Road
37. Isobel Campbell & Mark LaneganSunday at Devil Dirt {info}
36. H is for HellgateCome for the peaks stay for the valleys {info}
35. Andrea Wittgens In The Skyline {info}
34. Common MarketBlack Patch War {album review}
33. Colin MeloyColin Meloy Sings Live! {album review}
32. Chris WallaField Manual {album review}
31. Head Like a Kite – There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere {album review}
30. LakeOh, the Places You’ll Go
29. BOATTopps {info}
28. 31 KnotsWorried Well {info}
27. Gutter Twins Saturnalia {album review}
26. MoondoggiesDon’t Be A Stranger {info}
25. Mark Pickerel & His Praying HandsCody’s Dream {album review}
24. Tea for JulieThe Sense in Tying Knots {album review}
23. Central Services Central Services Presents… The Board of Education! {info}
22. These Arms Are SnakesTail Swallower & Dove {info}
21. Speaker SpeakerCall It Off {info}
20. Sera CahooneOnly As the Day Is Long {album review}
19. Dutchess and the DukeShe’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke {live show review}
18. The Saturday KnightsMingle {album review}
17. Throw Me The StatueMoonbeams {album review}
16. Helms AleeNight Terror {live show review}
15. Natalie Portman’s Shaved HeadGlistening Pleasure {live show review}
14. Death Cab for CuteNarrow Stairs {album review}
13. Voyager OneAfterhours in the Afterlife {album review}
12. Shane Tutmarc and the Traveling MerciesHey Lazarus {album review}
11. Black Nite CrashArray {info}
10. Damien JuradoCaught In The Trees {album review}
9. Blitzen Trapper – Furr {album review}
8. Grand ArchivesGrand Archives {album review}
7. Hey MarseillesTo Travels and Trunks {live show review}
6. Helio SequenceKeep Your Eyes Ahead {album review}
5. Man PlusHungarian Suicide Songbook {album review}
4. The Kindness KindThe Kindness Kind {info}
3. Kaylee ColeWe’re Still Here Missing You {live show review}
2. Fleet FoxesFleet Foxes {album review}
1. New FacesTwo Years {album review}

All Girl Summer Fun Band BOAT Chris Walla Common Market Damien Jurado Fleet Foxes Grand Archives H is for Hellgate Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop Jared Mees and the Grown Children Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground LoveLand Man Plus Old Haunts Pica Beats Team Gina The Dead Science The Doll Test The Dutchess and the Duke The Kindness Kind The Nextdoor Neighbors The Pharmacy The Saturday Knights Throw Me the Statue Wallpaper Young Sportsmen

Best of 2008: Top Northwest Releases of 2008 TIG Editorial Picks

TIG staffers are a lot like you — coming up with our list of faves for the year is a fun and gripping process. After comparing/contrasting/debating our individual favorites, we figured the sum of our imaginary parts would make for an interesting list.

While ChrisB and Keenan, among other things, brought in the power-pop elements,  Chris Estey stood by the smartie subtle elements of this year’s Northwest offerings. Imaginary liz, as usual, loved the lo-fi and indie-pop songs, while imaginary dana spent much of the year obessed with Throw the the Statue and of course, the Fleet Foxes. And nearly all of us agreed that the Saturday Knights album was a force to be reckoned with. Here’s our our staff votes tallied up…

Top Northwest Releases of 2008, TIG Editorial Picks:

25. The Nextdoor Neighbors – Magic Vs The Machine {live show review}
24. The Dead ScienceVillanaire {album review}
23. H is for HellgateCome for the peaks stay for the valleys {info}
22. Kay Kay and His Weathered UnderdroundKay Kay and His Weathered Underdround {live show review}
21. BOATTopps EP {live show review}
20. LoveLandThe Beautiful Truth {info}
19. Damien JuradoCaught In The Trees {album review}
18. Common MarketBlack Patch War {album review}
17. Chris WallaField Manual {album review}
16. Hey MarseillesTo Travels and Trunks {live show review}
15. Jared Mees and the Grown ChildrenCaffeine, Alchohol, Sunshine, Money {album review}
14. Grand ArchivesGrand Archives {album review}
13. Man PlusHungarian Suicide Songbook {album review}
12. WallpaperOn The Chewing Gum Ground
11. (TIE) Young SportsmenIf You Want It {album review}
11. (TIE) Doll TestMosque Alarm Clock
10. The Pica BeatsBeating Back the Claws of the Cold {info}
9. Team GinaProducts of the 80s {album review}
8. The Kindness KindThe Kindness Kind {info}
7. The PharmacyChoose Ur Own Adventure {info}
6. Throw Me The StatueMoonbeams {album review}
5. Dutchess and the DukeShe’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke {live show review}
4. The Old HauntsPoisonous Times {live show review}
3. All Girl Summer Fun BandLooking Into It {live show review}
2. Fleet FoxesFleet Foxes {album review}
1. The Saturday KnightsMingle {album review}

Peruse some of individual staffer favs: