Categories
Blitzen Trapper Blue Scholars BOAT Grand Archives Grand Hallway Imaginary Scoop Menomena Minus the Bear Modest Mouse Ms. Led Night Canopy Patience Please Shake Some Action! Siberian Team Gina The Cave Singers The Cops The Femurs The Shaky Hands Throw Me the Statue Tullycraft

TIG Best Northwest Releases of 2007: Editors' picks

We gathered our imaginary staff to determine our collective Northwest favorites for 2007. It was hard work. Imaginary battles were fought, alliances formed, and finally, winners emerged.

You should have seen the way that imaginary Liz can arm wrestle, and how Erik Gonzalez can duke it out for his favorite bands. It was fierce and fun, and we think our final list was well worth the effort.

Here they are: the TIG official editor picks for best Northwest releases of 2007. Enjoy!

#20 Grand Hallway Yes Is the Answer (Self-released)
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#19 Aqueduct Or Give Me Death (Barsuk)
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#18 Night Canopy Of Honey and Country (Go Midnight)
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#17 Team Gina Gina Gina Revolution (Self-released)
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#16 Arthur & Yu In Camera (Hardly Art)
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#15 Minus the Bear Planet of Ice (Suicide Squeeze)
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#14 The Cops Free Electricity (The Control Group)
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#13 Ms Led Shake Yourself Awake (Fish the Cat)
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#12 The Femurs Modern Mexico (HomeSpun)
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#11 Patience Please Fleeting Frequencies (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
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#10 Grand Archives Grand Archives (Self-released / Sub Pop)
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#9 Shake Some Action! Shake Some Action (Satellite 451)
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#8 Math & Physics Club Baby I’m Yours (Matinee)
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#7 Throw Me The Statue Moonbeams (Baskerville Hill)
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#6 Blue Scholars Bayani (MassLine Media, Rawkus)
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#5 Siberian With Me (Sonic Boom Recordings)
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#4 BOAT Let’s Drag Our Feet (Magic Marker)
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#3 Menomena Friend and Foe (Barsuk)
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#2 Tullycraft Every Scene Needs a Center (Magic Marker)
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#1 Cave Singers Invitation Songs (Matador)
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Honorable mentions:

Blitzen Trapper Wild Mountain Nation (Lidkercow Ltd.)

Modest Mouse We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Epic)

Schoolyard Heroes Abominations (Stolen Transmission)

The Shaky Hands The Shaky Hands (Holocene Music)

The Shins Wincing the Night Away (Sub Pop)

 

Categories
Amy Winehouse Arthur & Yu Beirut BOAT Cloud Cult Grand Archives Imaginary Scoop Interpol John Vanderslice Jon Rauhouse Math and Physics Club Nicole Atkins Night Canopy Okkervil River Ragazza Scotland Yard Gospel Choir Shake Some Action! Shorthand for Epic Siberian Sleeping in the Aviary The Broken West The Cave Singers The Fratellis The Pipettes The Saturday Knights The Shaky Hands The Twilight Sad Throw Me the Statue Tullycraft

Best of 2007: imaginary Dana's picks

I have so many favorites for 2007 that narrowing the lists was tricky. Plus I’m preggo as a house and have NO memory at this point, so I’m sure I’ve inadvertently omitted some really great releases and songs. Forgive me and my wacked out hormones.

But that said, here are some Top of 2007 lists from me, to you. Feel free to leave comments both nasty and supportive. I likely deserve both for some of my erratic tastes.

The official results of the TIG Best NW Releases of 2007 Readers’ Poll are coming VERY soon… stay tuned! In the meantime, some of my personal picks for a wonderful year in music past:

Favorite Releases of 2007:

  1. Amy Winehouse Back to Black
  2. Okkervil River The Stage Names
  3. Tullycraft Every Scene Needs a Center
  4. Beirut The Flying Cup Club
  5. The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
  6. Shake Some Action Shake Some Action
  7. Math & Physics Club Baby I’m Yours
  8. John Vanderslice Emerald City
  9. The Cave Singers Invitation Songs
  10. The Fratellis Costello Music


Favorite Northwest Releases of 2007:

  1. Grand Archives Grand Archives
  2. Tullycraft Every Scene Needs a Center
  3. Shake Some Action Shake Some Action
  4. Cave Singers Invitation Songs
  5. Math & Physics Club Baby I’m Yours
  6. Siberian With Me
  7. Throw the Me Statue Moonbeams
  8. Arthur & Yu In Camera
  9. Night Canopy Of Honey and Country
  10. BOAT Let’s Drag Our Feet

 

Favorite Songs of 2007:

  1. Amy Winehouse “Love Is A Losing Game” and “Back to Black”
  2. Nicole Atkins “The Way It Is”
  3. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir “I Never Thought I’d Feel This Way for a Boy”
  4. Tullycraft “The Punks Are Writing Love Songs”
  5. Interpol “Heinrich Maneuver”
  6. Grand Archives “Southern Glass Home”
  7. Cloud Cult “Chemicals Collide”
  8. The Broken West “Down in the Valley”
  9. LCD Soundsystem “Someone Great”
  10. Sleeping in the Aviary “Another Girl”
  11. Lily Allen “LDN”
  12. Los Campesinos “You! Me! Dancing!”
  13. Throw Me the Statue “Lolita”
  14. Shake Some Action “Damaged”
  15. The Saturday Knights “45”
  16. Cave Singers “Seeds of Night”
  17. Siberian “Paper Birds”
  18. The Shaky Hands “Why and How Come”
  19. The Blakes “Don’t Bother Me”
  20. Night Canopy “Boom It’s Spring”
  21. The Pipettes “We Are the Pipettes”
  22. The Fratellis “Chelsea Dagger”
  23. John Vanderslice “The Parade”
  24. The Twilight Sad “That Summer, At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy”
  25. Jon Rauhouse (and Rachel Flotard) “Harbor Lights”

 

Categories
Arthur & Yu Imaginary Scoop J. Tillman Jens Lekman John Vanderslice Low Night Canopy Okkervil River The Cave Singers Throw Me the Statue Tiny Vipers

Best of 2007: Sarah Jo's picks

In absolutely no numeric order — I could never pick favorites with a list like this!

 

Looking at my non-list, I not only get warm fuzzies, but I also realize there’s perhaps two degrees of separation from each artist. For example, Throw Me the Statue is now labelmate to Jens Lekman on Secretly Canadian, and Okkervil River is nearly their “family” on sister label Jagjaguwar. Jenny Jimenez of Night Canopy took the photos for the album artwork on Cave Singers debut, and both bands feature members of (R.I.P.) Pretty Girls Make Graves. Low and Tiny Vipers can both be found on Sub Pop, while Arthur and Yu was released by their offshoot label Hardly Art.

As for Vanderslice, he recorded [and briefly appeared on] a previous Okkervil release at his studio, Tiny Telephone. J. Tillman’s current backing band features Casey Wescott of the Fleet Foxes, who played to a sold out Crocodile crowd with the Cave Singers on November 30th; the following night Tillman played the High Dive with Whalebones — a band featuring Amy Blaschke of Night Canopy. Phew!

Frighteningly enough, I could actually go on, but I believe my point has been proven. Perhaps the kinship and overlap in my top list could be construed negatively, a limited field of vision resulting in only seeing what is immediately in front of me. From my perspective, it’s just the opposite. While I do appreciate any number of bands, genres, and strange incestuous sub-sections, this is what I love. In 2012, these are the songs that will bring about the most visceral remembrances of five years prior, because this was my heavy rotation out of everything made available in the past year.

Categories
Imaginary Scoop Lookout Matador Night Canopy Pretty Girls Make Graves The Cave Singers

Tonight's Recommended Show: Final Pretty Girls Make Graves Show

I remember the first time I saw Pretty Girls Make Graves live. It was one of the most memorable shows I've ever been to and it certainly changed my life.

No. The band wasn't that good – it was the opening act the first time I saw Sleater-Kinney live. I remember a few sound issues in the packed Showbox and at one point lead singer Andrea Zollo was forced to nervously tell bad jokes to kill time until the sound problems could be resolved.

Since then, PGMG has put out three full-length records that range in quality from very solid to great. My favorite is Good Health, the first LP (which was released in 2002 on Lookout! Records). "Do you remember when you could not put it away? Do you remember what the music meant?" Zollo asks repeatedly throughout "Speakers Push the Air", the immediate and urgent anthem that kicks off the record.

After that LP, the band quickly signed to Matador, which put out its final two records, The New Romance and last year's Elan Vital.Both were also well-received and fine rock and roll records. Yet the band's greatness comes mostly from its live shows – which are consistently intense and emotional experiences. Each show I've seen of PGMG (and it's probably close to a dozen times), its shows have gotten better and better.

Sadly, tonight will be the final time this great and beloved Northwest band will take the stage. Fortunately, most of the members are involved with other projects. For example, drummer Nick DeWitt is in the country-ish Night Canopy and bassist Derek Fudesco is now in the Cave Singers. Unlike many band break-ups, there's many reasons to be optimistic for the future.

Categories
Imaginary Scoop Night Canopy The Posies

Boom It's Spring!

I believe in dark venues and loud music. I generally dis-believe in nature. That is, when I plant a seed in the earth, I have about as much confidence that it will open as I do that the Posies will stop playing reunion shows.

But ever the cautious optimist, back in the Fall I stuck some tulip bulbs in the ground. Then with SXSW and with relaunching the TIG website, I somehow forgot to notice that winter ended… until today. I stepped outside my house and, in the one-day-to-be-immortal words of Night Canopy… BOOM, It's Spring! I MADE NATURE WORK!!!!

Boom It's Spring!

I wouldn't hold out too much hope for the actual final Posies show, however. They have an acoustic show at the Triple Door in Seattle on May 11th.

 

Categories
Lightning Dust Live Show Review Night Canopy The Cave Singers The Crocodile

Night Canopy, The Cave Singers, and Lightning Dust at the Croc

A few weeks back, much-beloved local-rockers-with-a-national-following Pretty Girls Make Graves announced that they were splitting up. Drummer Nick DeWitt was the first to leave, and the other members also decided it was time to disband. A recent Thursday at the Croc was a great opportunity to see what the Pretty Girls Who Made Graves will be up to in a post-PGMG world, with both DeWitt's latest band Night Canopy and bassist Derek Fudesco's newest band, the Cave Singers, sharing the bill.

First on the bill was Lightning Dust, a two-piece band made of zero members of PGMG. Both members do, however, moonlight in British Columbia's psych rock band Black Mountain. Josh Wells and Amber Webber make up Lightning Dust; he played keys or organ, she played acoustic guitar, they both sang.

If the first rule of rock and/or roll is to know your audience, it was definitely learned by Lightning Dust and evident when Wells said early in the set that the Cave Singers and Night Canopy were the best bands in Seattle to play with — and then added the caveat that also included Whalebones, another popular Seattle band. That gesture was well-received by the appreciative crowd, surely made up of members of all three bands and their many friends.

During LD's set, the floor of the Croc filled out nicely, hardly vacant but also nowhere near being uncomfortably packed. The crowd were captivated by Wells and Webber's stripped-down, melancholic, and haunting music. "Jump In" was the second song of the set and showcased the band at its best. Their voices both comforted and conflicted with each other's, his more upbeat and hers more dark and eerie.

Up next were the Cave Singers, the band most of the crowd was there to see. Making their own type of folk-y Appalachian rock, they were nothing short of phenomenal (and don't just believe my word for it. The Weekly and the Stranger both raved about the performance on their respective blogs.)

Led by Pete Quirk (former singer of the missed rock band Hint Hint) and the aforementioned Fudesco, the Cave Singers are a band you can enjoy even with your grandparents, as they are nostalgic but never kitsch-y. Employing both acoustic and electric guitars as well as drums and washboards, the Cave Singers entertained a full-ish crowd for its entire 40-minute set. There was very little shuffling between the bar and the band room, which surely gave the fine bartenders at the Croc a much-deserved rest. For one song towards the end, the Cave Singers were joined by Lightning Dust's Webber, whose haunting vocals gelled very well with Fudesco, who also possess a dark and deep voice.

After the Cave Singers played, I was convinced that I definitely wanted to hear more from them and approached Quirk at the merch table wanting to buy a copy of its demo CD. Because neither of us had change for a ten, he gave me a copy of it for the remaining $3 I had. With its limited-edition numbering (mine is 70 out of 200), I think that might be one of the best bargains I'll find in 2007.

The headlining band, Night Canopy, experienced a few jitters to start their set, but a little unintended reverb never really hurt anyone and the band quickly settled down to an intimate, emotional set. Fortunately, they maintained much of the Cave Singer's significant crowd. I really think Night Canopy is a much better live band than they are on record (and I praised the album extensively); adding the lovely, soft backing harmonies of Jenny Jimenez only adds to the fullness of the band's sound and stage presence. I don't want to spend too much more time on their set, as there is little I could add that I didn't write about when reviewing its album, Of Honey and Country, but suffice to say, it was hardly a letdown.

Overall, it's very encouraging to see Northwest bands experimenting with other sounds and uncommon instruments than the typical three-chord, drums, guitar bass sound. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this has the potential to become the sort of show that people who weren't there claim they were in years to come.

Categories
Go Midnight Night Canopy Record Review

Of Honey and Country

"You've got a song you're singing from your gut, you want that audience to feel it in their gut. And you've got to make them think that you're one of them sitting out there with them too. They've got to be able to relate to what you're doing." Or so said the legendary Johnny Cash. Within country music, that idea should be universal (though when judging rock music, authenticity is about as necessary as some more fucking cowbell). When applying the "Cash Doctrine" (as I'm calling it), I'm willing to bet that the Man in Black would be a fan of Of Honey and Country, the debut album from Night Canopy — a terrific new country/folk band from Seattle.

Led primarily by singer-songwriter Amy Blaschke and Nick DeWitt of the (soon to be broken-up) rock band Pretty Girls Make Graves, Night Canopy also enlisted violinist Seth Warren of the acclaimed band Red Stars Theory. Live they are joined by Jenny Jimenez, the former bassist for the fun pop/rock band The Catch. She provides backing harmonies and plays various instruments.

Although it's difficult to walk more than two blocks in Seattle without accidentally tripping over a singer-songwriter, Blaschke stands out amongst her contemporaries because her voice shows both vulnerability and empathy. Her voice is similar to Neko Case's (turned down an octave or two) and her songwriting, like Case's, is both emotional and personal.

Take, for example, "Tell Me You've Been Lyin'," the album's fourth track. As Blaschke sings the same few lines over and over again, she sounds on the surface as if she's confronting a philandering boyfriend or husband; but on a deeper level, it sounds much more like she's singing to herself, knowing that her man is a no-good, lying bastard — but that she's also not sure she's ready to begin another phase of her life alone.

"Signs of Life" picks up where "Tell Me You've Been Lyin'" leaves off. In this song, Blaschke is picking up the pieces of a failed relationship, but is accepting her share of the blame: "…And I won't go there again / up until now you could have said / honey I think you lost it / and I would have had to agree". I don't know if the songs are autobiographical or not, but really, it's immaterial. There is unlikely to be anyone who would fail to identify with at least one of the twelve songs here.

Much like the classic Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, Of Honey and Country loosely follows the pattern of a relationship falling apart via the track sequencing, from optimism at the beginning of the disc through divorce. Of Honey does end with reconciliation, and Blaschke empathizes with every emotion in-between.

Of Honey and Country is a smart, deep, and satisfying record. It's a very impressive debut (although no one involved is exactly a stranger to a recording studio) from a band that I hope makes several more albums in the future.

Categories
A Gun That Shoots Knives Barsuk Central Services Head Like A Kite Iceage Cobra Imaginary Scoop Jim Noir Kane Hodder Math and Physics Club Night Canopy Optimus Rhyme Schoolyard Heroes Shorthand for Epic Speaker Speaker Sub Pop The Elephants The Pale Pacific The Pharmacy The Trucks Thee Emergency Tiny Vipers Tullycraft We Wrote the Book on Connectors

A Very Merry Imaginary Karaoke Bash!

Three Imaginary Girls, Barsuk Records, and Sub Pop Records present a Very Merry Imaginary Karaoke Bash featuring members of Math & Physics Club, Iceage Cobra, Head Like a Kite, Schoolyard Heroes, Speaker Speaker, Kane Hodder, Optimus Rhyme, the Pale Pacific, the Elephants, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, The Trucks, A Gun That Shoots Knives, Central Services, The Pharmacy, Tullycraft, Night Canopy, Dita Vox, Shorthand for Epic, and many more. Pre-party starts at 8p with acoustic sets from members of Tiny Vipers, Fruit Bats, and a special performance by Jim Noir. Friday night, December 8th, at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle, WA Seattle, WA, November 14, 2006 – Ho ho ho! 'Tis about that time to kick off the holiday season imaginarily!

Three Imaginary Girls, "Seattle's sparkly indie- pop press," will host a Holiday Karaoke Bash on Friday, December 8, 2006 at The Crocodile, to welcome in the holiday season with their favorite local rockstars singing karaoke. The night will kick-off with a Sub Pop and Barsuk Records-supported pre-party with acoustic sets from members of Sub Pop artists Fruit Bats and Tiny Vipers, and a very special performance from Barsuk Records' Jim Noir.

The night will feature rockstar performances by local musicians and celebrities. Members of Math & Physics Club, Iceage Cobra, Head Like a Kite, Schoolyard Heroes, Speaker Speaker, Kane Hodder, Optimus Rhyme, the Pale Pacific, the Elephants, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, The Trucks, A Gun That Shoots Knives, Central Services, The Pharmacy, Tullycraft, Night Canopy, Dita Vox, Shorthand for Epic, several KEXP DJs, and many more special guests are prepared to take the stage to croon for our mutual holiday enjoyment.

Of course — in imaginary style — you won't need mistletoe to get lucky. The event will feature the amazing John Roderick of the Long Winters as Indie Rock Santa Claus, to ensure you get your holiday wish-list heard by Mr. North Pole himself.

"How often does one get the chance to have her picture taken while sitting on John Roderick's lap?" asked imaginary girl Liz. "That's reason enough to attend!"

"This is the best holiday gift ever – a pre-party with Sub Pop and Barsuk, followed by an off-the-hook karaoke bash!" said imaginary girl Dana. "It's a Christmas miracle!"

"I guess we've been very, very good imaginary girls this year," said imaginary girl Char.

Steve the Karaoke King (of Twilight Exit, Molly McGuires, and the Comet Tavern) will serve as KJ for the big event, which means the song selection and the sound system will both be incredible. Need further incentive? Imaginary karaoke parties always tend to attract surprise guests (including Vendetta Red's Zach Davidson and the Posies' Jon Auer at past events), and the girls will have girls will have raffle prizes galore from favorite folks like Merge Records, K Records, and Pattern 25 Records to bulk up your end-of-year CD collection. Event supporters Sub Pop, Barsuk, and Seattle Sound magazine will also be providing extra- exciting gift packs for lucky audience members to win.

Three Imaginary Girls are no strangers to the Seattle rock scene. During the past four years, the girls have reviewed hundreds of live shows and CDs in Seattle and beyond. They also book local music showcases, and have hosted various rockstar karaoke events, such as their Labor Day Buttrock Karaoke Party, their Silly Love Songs Friday the 13th Pre-Valentine's Day Bash, and a "69 Love Songs" Pre- Valentine's Day Tribute night.

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THE JUICY DETAILS
WHAT: Three Imaginary Girls Presents: A Very Merry Imaginary Karaoke Bash
WHERE: The Crocodile Café, 2200 2nd Avenue. Seattle, WA
WHEN: Friday, December 8, 2006. Doors open 8p for the Tiny Vipers and Fruit Bats acoustic sets. Jim Noir performance begins at 9p. Open Karaoke immediately thereafter at 9:30p.
COST: $10 Advance tickets available through Ticketweb.

ABOUT THREE IMAGINARY GIRLS
ThreeImaginaryGirls.com is a Seattle-based website that showcases the great music of the Northwest to music lovers worldwide. During the past three+ years, the site has featured reviews of albums, live music, film, theater, interviews, political commentary, and even love advice, in Seattle and beyond. The girls also book music showcases, contribute to other music publications (including The Stranger, Tablet Magazine, and Music for America), and make guest radio appearances on 90.3 KEXP. The girls were voted "MVP of Seattle Music 2004" by readers of the Seattle Weekly, and were listed in Seattle Magazine's Most Influential People issue. Intrigued? For more information, contact: [email protected].