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:

Dyme Def Imaginary Scoop Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground Man Plus Old Haunts Team Gina The Kindness Kind The Saturday Knights The Turn Ons Vancougar Young Sportsmen

Chris B's Top 10 NW Releases of 2008

I always find it frustrating when another reviewer or critic says they couldn't compile an annual top 10 list because they couldn't find ten albums they appreciated in any given year. Each year there are thousands and thousands of records being released – some great, some crap. 2008 was another fantastic year for Northwest music. Not because Fleet Foxes cleaned up in Pitchfork's reader's poll or placed at or near the top of several British publications' best of the year lists. No, it was a great year for Northwest music because there was always some exciting sound coming out of a rock club on any given night. I don't think I could identify a single night on a calendar where there was not some excellent show that was preferable to staying at home for the night.

Fleet Foxes were the story of 2008 – and good for them, but there were countless other bands that didn't get picked up by the hype machine that were equally deserving. When I making this top 10 list, I first listed every album that could conceivably be one of my ten favorites and then narrowed it down from there. My first draft had 30 entries. The (biggest) problem with top 10 lists is that you only have ten spots to fill. Having said that, I did the best I could (knowing full-well that I left off at least twenty deserving candidates). For what it's worth, three of them were made available as free downloads and 8 were of bands from Seattle. Here are the ten Northwest albums that made my iPod a happier place in 2008 – with YouTubage where available:

10. Man Plus, The Hungarian Suicide Songbook (song: Kids Gone Bad)


9. The Turn-Ons, Curses

8. The Old Haunts, Poisonous Times (song: Not Hopeless)


7. Dyme Def, 3 Bad Brothaaas mixtape (song: "The Game Needs Me" Remix)

6. Vancougar, Canadian Tuxedo (song: Distance)


5. Team Gina, Products of the Eighties (song: Products of the Eighties)


4. The Kindness Kind, The Kindness Kind (song: Suckerpunch)


3. The Young Sportsmen, If You Want It

2. Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground (song: Simon Courage Flees the Coop)


1. The Saturday Knights, Mingle (song: 45)

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.


Kimya Dawson Live Show Review Old Haunts

Kimya Dawson & the Old Haunts

The Old Haunts almost ruined the show on August 23rd for Kimya Dawson, at least for me. No, the local band didn't trash the stage or run off all the fans, quite the contrary in fact — they nearly stole the spotlight from the headliner.

Forget blending genres to create a new sound, an endless array of pedals crowding up the stage floor, or random bursts of unexpected sound. The Old Haunts have none of that; they just have good, true rock 'n' roll as it should be, a three-piece band who showed up to play hard and loud and nothing else. I found them extremely refreshing. Their singer/guitarist Craig Extine grew steadily sweatier, a spray of spit accompanying every few words that came out. He was just as dirty as a rock lead man should be. And I didn't detect an air of self-righteousness once during their set. Sadly that set had to be cut short, as drummer Tobi Vail reportedly had an extremely bad cold. Her drumming was less minimal than Meg White's; she has a bit more to her sound than Meg's one-two one-two. But if I needed a band to compare the Old Haunts to, it would be the White Stripes. Both bands attempt to bring rock back to its roots, and Extine's vocals sound an awful lot like Jack's.

As I said, the Old Haunts almost stole the show from Kimya. They didn't quite succeed, however; how could you not be charmed away by a woman frankly singing, "So I tattoo instructions on my ass/that say 'don't ever put this body is a casket/burn it and put the ashes in a basket/and throw them in the Puget Sound/I don't ever want to be under ground'"? Plus the crowd more than doubled by the time Kimya took the stage. Or, I should say floor, as she opted to sit amongst the rest of us, due to an argument between the acoustic guitar and the sound system which sounded like a bunch of feedback.

With us surrounding her in a semi-circle, it felt like Story Time with Kimya. If you've ever heard her songs, this would be a fitting feeling — her poetry is biting social commentary, stories about friends, fictional or real, and now includes an entire collection of children's songs, primarily casting her daughter Panda as the main character. Talk of Panda filled most of the banter, stemming from the fact the show was 21+ and the baby wasn't allowed. I've seen her daughter in person at the Vera show a few months back, and I would highly suggest checking out Kimya's MySpace for a picture of Panda, as she's possibly the cutest baby ever. [This coming from someone who's opinion of babies is usually not positive.]

Parenthood and having just returned from an extended trip to Europe, both for a tour and vacation, were taking a toll on Dawson during this late, late show. I think she mentioned being sleepy at least a handful of times. Nevertheless, her set was comical, heartfelt, political, endearing, and fantastic — everything you'd expect from Kimya Dawson.