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:

Live Show Review The Nextdoor Neighbors The Vera Project

The Nextdoor Neighbors CD Release Party at Vera

The Nextdoor Neighbors are a new, fun, lovely little band from Olympia that first made a name for itself when it finished second in the EMP’s Sound Off! competition earlier this year. Made up of two friends, Kathy Cote and Jessie Hill (the former provides the melodies and the latter the lyrics and harmonies), The Nextdoor Neighbors sound like a band that should, in a just world, find a home on K Records.

Saturday night was the duo’s CD release party for their debut album Magic Vs. the Machine (Bicycle Records) at the Vera Project, with the most opportune word in this sentence being “party.” The band was perfectly lovely, striking a balance between being ready for their big night and being overwhelmed by it. The room at Vera was packed with teenagers, and you could guess most were friends. Between songs, Kathy and Jessie tried to thank everyone who showed up and it felt like an Academy Awards acceptance speech during every break: rushed for time and afraid that someone would be left out and not thanked (but they did control when the music started). I think Cote wanted to delay the start of the set (from 8:45) by a few minutes so that her brother could make it, who was driving up from Vancouver, WA to be there. He eventually showed up about 10 minutes into the set.

There was a nervous energy throughout, even marred by technical problems at times, including Cote breaking a friend’s drum from hitting it too hard. If you didn’t know where The Nextdoor Neighbors were from, Olympia would be a good (and correct) first guess. They sound like what a younger, teenage version of The Blow might sound and perform like (if gender was a non-issue, I presume – and with apologies to Jona Bechtolt). Hill sings lightly over Cote’s lo-fi beats. It is a perfect sound for dancing in your bedroom – and that was how everyone in the crowd (and on stage) treated the evening. Vera was about 3/4s full and for a lot of songs (especially their ode to Olympia, “Town Full of Mannequins”) got the very young crowd to move. Thematically, The Nextdoor Neighbors and The Blow’s Khaela Maricich seem to take inspiration from themes beyond similar subjects. One Nextdoor Neighbors song, they said, was based on the sci-fi classic The Forbidden Planet and other-worldly themes run through Maricich’s songs like “The Big U” and “The Moon is There, I am Here.”

Throughout the night The Nextdoor Neighbors grew more confident – you could tell by the high-five Hill and Cote gave each other about 45 minutes into their set. They didn’t want to cede the stage and kept going for another 20. Then, after their set was over, they premiered the video to the title track off their record in the lobby of Vera.

The band who won Sound Off! this year was New Faces – a very polished pop/rock band from Port Townsend. New Faces are overtly derivative of their influences (The Strokes, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand) but overcome that by having a commanding stage presence that masks it. The Nextdoor Neighbors are the antithesis of that and guess which is more fun to watch. They bring to mind the loveliest ladies of K Records (Mirah and Khaela Maricich) not because they are cribbing the bedroom, electronic folk-pop sound that those women are famous for but because they’re not that dissimilar overall. The Nextdoor Neighbors are crafting a sound for themselves and finding their comfort zone on stage. We’re just fortunate they’re sharing what they come up with.

Chris Walla Common Market Death Cab for Cutie Dyme Def Fleet Foxes Grand Archives Head Like A Kite Imaginary Scoop Little Party and the Bad Business M. Bison Man Plus Mark Pickerel Natalie Portman's Shaved Head Old Haunts Panda & Angel Sera Cahoone Shake Some Action! Shim Star Anna Tea for Julie Team Gina The New Bloods The Nextdoor Neighbors The Pharmacy The Saturday Knights The Turn Ons Thee Emergency Throw Me the Statue Young Sportsmen

Best of 2008: it's half-yearly check-in time

As of today, we’re officially in the second half of 2008. Welcome! To gear you up for another fabulous six months of local Northwest releases, we here at imaginary headquarters have brainstormed an imaginary mix for all of you, containing some of our favorite songs by Northwest artists released this year to date thus far.

No promises that each of these will make our Best of 2008 Reader’s Poll final list, but at least this way you have the next six months to follow-up and listen to these releases before you have to decide. In alphabetical order, we have…

The top imaginary 33 Northwest songs of 2008 {so far}:

  1. Sera Cahoone “The Colder the Air” (from the release Only As The Day is Long)
  2. Common Market “Watership Down” (from the release Black Patch War)
  3. Death Cab for Cutie “Cath” (from the release Narrow Stairs)
  4. Dyme Def3Badbrothaaas” (from the release 3Badbrothaaas Mixtape)
  5. Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal” (from the release Fleet Foxes)
  6. Head Like a Kite “Big FM Radio Hit” (from the release There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere)
  7. The Helio Sequence “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” (from the release Keep Your Eyes Ahead)
  8. Grand Archives “Index Moon” (from the release The Grand Archives)
  9. Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground “Simon Courage Flees the Coop” (from the release Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground)
  10. Little Party and the Bad Business “A Free Box for Everyone” (from the release Jock Therapy)
  11. M. Bison “Party All The Time” (from an unreleased EP)
  12. Man Plus “Not For All the Cocaine in the World” (from the release The Hungarian Suicide Songbook)
  13. Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head “Me + Yr Daughter” (from the release Glistening Pleasure)
  14. The Nextdoor Neighbors “Town Full of Mannequins” (from an unreleased EP)
  15. The New Bloods “Oh, Deadly Nightshade” (from the release The Secret Life)
  16. The Old Haunts “Volatile” (from the release Poisonous Times)
  17. Panda & Angel “Sirens” (from an unreleased EP)
  18. The Pharmacy “Little Toys On The Shelf” (from the release Choose Yr Own Adventure)
  19. Mark Pickerel “She Calls” (from the release Cody’s Dream)
  20. Pleasureboaters “Elliptical Realism” (from the release !Gross!)
  21. Shim “Satisfied” (from the release Feel Like a King)
  22. Star Anna “If Wishes Were Horses” (from the release Crooked Path)
  23. The Saturday Knights “Dog Park” (from the release Mingle)
  24. Shake Some Action! “Half Past Three” (from the release Sunny Days Ahead)
  25. Tea for Julie “Pollyanna” (from the release The Sense in Tying Knots)
  26. Team Gina “Wife-Swapping” (from the release Product of the Eighties)
  27. Tennis Pro “Shelley Gets High” (from the release Are You There God? It’s Me, Tennis Pro.)
  28. Thee Emergency “Call 911” (from the release Solid)
  29. Throw Me The Statue “Yucatan Gold” (from the release Moonbeams)
  30. The Turn-Ons “Here She Is” (from the release Curse)
  31. Shane Tutmarc and the Travelling Mercies “Honey I Chose You” (from the release Hey Lazarus)
  32. Chris Walla “Two-Fifty” (from the release Field Manual)
  33. The Young Sportsmen “Girl Pants” (from the release If You Want It)

To paraphrase imaginary ChrisB, we feel like this list is pretty unfuckwithable. But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t inadvertently overlook something great. If you have additions for our list, please chime in with your comments below.