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Alvvays Belle & Sebastian Camera Obscura Campfire Social Hinds Honeyblood Imaginary Scoop Japanese Breakfast Kelly Lee Owens Teenage Fanclub

Interview with a Boaty Weekender! Find out what it’s like to cruise the Mediterranean with Belle & Sebastian and Friends

In early 2018, the Belle & Sebastian {B & S} folks asked everyone to complete a  survey (and a polite one at that). They were looking for input on entertainment and travel ideas for the Boaty Weekender – a cruise featuring sets by Belle & Sebastian AND B & S fans’ favorite bands AND assorted twee-ish related activities.

Although I was pretty sure I couldn’t join what was the most tempting music festival on the high seas (ever), I personally took great care in completing the survey – which basically involved me daydreaming about which B & S-adjacent bands I’d want to be (trapped) on a cruise ship with and what kind of fun adventures I’d like to have with said favorite bands. It was a super fun exercise that had me fantasizing about seeing folks like Martha, Bis, and Ballboy performing on the lido deck while Tacocat and The Beths took over the boat’s ornate theater. Oh, and is that The Pastels over on the captain’s deck? YES, PLEASE!

A few months later the line-up was announced – and although it didn’t include any of my suggestions, it did NOT disappoint. In August 2019, B & S and Friends took to the high seas to live their best indie-life on a cruise from Barcelona to Sardinia. The four days of music and BINGO games and a margarita tasting and yoga made me feel some serious FOMO (check out that day by day schedule!).

The best antidote was to find out that our dear friend and TIG contributor, Imaginary David and his wife were going on the Boaty Weekender 2019 (and to celebrate a wonderful and momentous occasion, no less)! And we were extra delighted when he agreed to share his onboard intel and his beautiful photos with us!

HUGE THANKS to David for kindly answering our questions!

 

TIG: What were the bands you were most excited about seeing?

David: The Boaty Weekender was conceived, designed, and executed by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. Belle and Sebastian was the main draw for people who came from all over the world. I like them, but honestly they were #4 on my priority list.

#1: Alvvays. My wife Carolyn and I love this band. In November of 2018 we brainstormed ideas for our second honeymoon to celebrate our 30th anniversary. After a couple rounds of wine ideas started flowing. We saw Alvvays in the Boaty lineup knew we had to go! It was also a great excuse to visit Barcelona. We booked in that moment, which was a little tricky given the wine situation.

Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
Alvvays at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

#2: Camera Obscura. This band has meant so much to me, especially in the Let’s Get Out of this Country era (2006/2007). When keyboardist Carey Lander died in 2015 the band stopped recording and playing shows. It was a dream to see they were reuniting for the Boaty. They played three sets, and I could see from the tears of joy in the crowd that it wasn’t just me who was thrilled to be there.

Camera Obscura at the Boaty Weekender. Photo by: David Lee
Camera Obscura at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

#3: Japanese Breakfast. I love the energy this band brings to their shows. Their 2018 Sasquatch set was phenomenal. Also, who has had more impact on American culture in the last couple years than Michelle Zauner? Have you seen her fashion creations and modeling in Vogue and Glamour? Have you read her incredible Crying in H Mart story in the New Yorker? She’s now expanding that story in a book I can’t wait to read. You’ve seen the video she created for her song “Boyish,” right? What about the videos she made for two of the hottest bands of the year: Charly Bliss and Better Oblivion Community Center? She does it all very well.

Japanese Breakfast at the Boaty Weekender. Photo by: David Lee
Japanese Breakfast at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

 

Were there any surprise favorites on the bill that you hadn’t listened to before but ended up loving?

  • Campfire Social was the big surprise for me. They’ve got great songwriting and had an energizing performance.
Campfire Social at the Boaty Weekender. Photo by: David Lee
Campfire Social at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram
  • Kelly Lee Owens led two dance parties I attended. Recommended!
Kelly Lee Owens at the Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
Kelly Lee Owens at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram
  • Honeyblood were really good. The singer/guitarist played a solo set and two more sets with rest of the band. Both formulas worked. She commented how the songs with the band are loud and angry, but when played solo they’re soft and sad.
Honeyblood at the Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
Honeyblood at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram
  • Hinds was hilarious and I’d see them again.
Hinds at the Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
Hinds at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

 

Cruises are known for their copious and lavish meals. Were there any dishes that were “Boaty Weekender” or Belle & Sebastian themed?

I didn’t see any specially-themed dishes, though the ship has a lot of restaurants and I may have missed something. Most of our meals were at a 24-hour buffet that was anything but lavish. One evening we ate at the Italian restaurant, which was good, but the amazing thing was that from our window seat we saw a dozen dolphins leaping from the water. The show went on for about 5 minutes before the ship pulled too far ahead.

The best meal of the cruise was when we got off the boat for a day in Cagliari, Sardinia. We had a late lunch at a nondescript restaurant that made to-die-for pasta.

Wait. The fruit and chocolate that appeared in our suite each night was lavish and the perfect way to end each day.

 

As the hosts, were members of B & S everywhere or did they just show up when they were on the bill?

I saw members of almost all the bands walking around continually. They watched shows alongside everyone else. They sang karaoke. They too looked a bit disheveled by 1 AM. They gawked at the spa where Botox treatments were available. They were gracious when fans asked for a quick selfie and/or awkwardly gushed.

Dave Depper from Death Cab for Cutie recently tweeted a sentiment about Alvvays that I share completely.Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee

Molly Rankin from Alvvays walked past me twice before the ship even departed. Twice later as I was hustling from one stage to another on a lower deck she passed me going the opposite direction. Moments like these were surreal. I was too paralyzed to say anything.

 

Were there any wacky things you saw going on that made you feel like you were in an episode of The Love Boat?

Ha! Carolyn and I talked about The Love Boat, and how that TV show left out the long lines, room keys not working initially, lugging luggage, and expensive drinks.

But yes, the cruise was filled with heart-warming moments: people obviously in love and fully living in the moment, people incredibly happy to see their favorite bands, and truly remarkable sunrises and sunsets. Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura asked from the stage “Is everyone having a lot of great sex?”

A young couple from Brazil sang and danced to every band, often right up front. They were so much fun to watch.

I swear half the ship’s crew knew our names, just like on The Love Boat. That was more unnerving than wacky.

 

What were your 5 favorite moments from the trip?

This is hard. In no particular order:

  1. When everyone took a shot of a mysterious orange cocktail just before Belle & Sebastian started their first set. That established trust and community.
  2. When Camera Obscura played “Hey, Lloyd” the first time. I didn’t think I’d ever hear that again.
  3. The aforementioned dolphins leaping during our dinner.
  4. When Alvvays played their pool deck set. They were so good it didn’t seem real.
  5. Japanese Breakfast tearing through their set and building an audience just like at Sasquatch.
Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
When everyone took a shot of a mysterious orange cocktail just before Belle & Sebastian started their first set on the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

 

Are there any other bands for which you would sign-up to travel on one of their band-themed cruises?

I’ve read about other music cruises, but without naming names none had as strong a lineup or seemed worth the time and expense.

Huge name artists could be fun, but it’d be impossible to get tickets for the Bruce cruise.

Artist-curated indie band cruises like Boaty seem like the best bet. I bet Phoebe Bridgers could put together a pretty cool cruise (Ed note: OMG, I’m in!).

Record labels including Barsuk and Merge have put on music festivals featuring their bands. A Polyvinyl cruise would be fantastic.

 

Any band or fun surprises not on the schedule?

Mid-way through the cruise we docked in Cagliari and broke into groups for various day-trips. Carolyn and I went to Barumini, a city built of basalt starting in the 17th century BC. Archeology was the perfect way to take a break from the rock shows.

Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
One of the cruise stops was in Barumini, a city built of basalt starting in the 17th century BC. Photo: David Lee / instagram

 

Any word on whether the BW is going to happen next year? Are there any bands that you think would be a good fit for next year’s line-up?

Stuart Murdoch hasn’t ruled out another Boaty, but I doubt it’ll be next year given the logistics. I do believe it’ll happen again at some point. Reviews were very positive:

Stuart has tweeted about curating a music festival in Mexico next year. I am keeping my eyes peeled.

 

Are there any other fabulous or funny or notable details I forgot to ask about?

The Boaty encouraged everyone to dress in a nautical theme for a day. Carolyn and I wore matching sailor shirts and scarves. At an autograph event Michelle Zauner from Japanese Breakfast said that we looked “adorable.” It was a moment.

Each morning a yoga session was offered on the pool deck. I didn’t go, but when walking by I overheard the instructor Frances McKee from The Vaselines leading mass flatulence. That was peak Boaty.

Molly Rankin talked on stage about how some of their songs are about drowning. Then she told us about a time when she was on a boat in a storm and a nearby boat sunk killing some of the occupants. This evoked nervous laughter from the crowd.

Donna Maciocia was fantastic playing keyboards and singing backing vocals for Camera Obscura. She blew the intro to “Hey Lloyd” at two of the three shows, but the loving smiles that drew from her, the band, and the crowd made those moments even better.

The first Teenage Fanclub show was exceptionally loud. I started out front and center then tried further back and then up on the overhanging deck. But it was so deafening I had to leave. That was a shame.

Boaty Weekender 2019. Photo by: David Lee
Teenage Fanclub at the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

British Airways had to cancel flights the day before The Boaty. Both Camera Obscura and Belle & Sebastian were flying from Glasgow to Heathrow then down to Barcelona. Both bands had their second flights cancelled and had to get new flights and a car ride to Gatwick. Bags with guitars, keyboards, and pants were lost. Camera Obscura arrived after the scheduled Boaty departure, so the sailing was delayed by two hours. All of this was recorded in the moment by the bands on twitter, and it was hilarious if harrowing.

We had never been on a cruise before because we assumed the experience would be bad, but our room was great and more importantly the shower was wonderful! So if that’s what’s holding you back…

More photos from the cruise are on Flickr.

Sunset on the Boaty Weekender. Photo by: David Lee
Sunset on the Boaty Weekender. Photo: David Lee / instagram

 

All photos: David Lee

 

 

Categories
Live Show Review On The Road Showbox at the Market Superchunk Teenage Fanclub Telekinesis!

Mergefest NW 2010: Superchunk, Teenage Fanclub, and Telekinesis

Any night that has Telekinesis opening, and has Teenage Fanclub not even headlining is bound to be epic, and thus was what I’ve dubbed Mergefest NW 2010.

Telekinesis brought the rock with Michael Lerner and a new incredibly tight band behind him, featuring Cody Votolato (ex Blood Brothers/current Jaguar Love) and Jason Narducy (ex Verbow). With such a loud past behind the current backing band, it was no surprise that Telekinesis sounded HUGE. This was the first local show with the new band, and it couldn’t have been easy opening for not only your bosses but also your musical heroes on home turf, but TK pulled if off well.

Telekinesis.

Telekinesis.

Teenage Fanclub.

Next up were Teenage Fanclub (again, how awesome of a night can it be when Teenage Fanclub aren’t even the headliner?!) and it blew me away how incredible they still sounded. Their harmonies are still amazingly haunting, and dare I say, only sound better with age. I’ve been a Teenage Fanclub fan for years, but they’ve always been one of those bands where I obsess over certain songs, and when they kicked into the opening of “Star Sign”, I got so excited that I spilled my drink all over myself, and unfortunately, my friend next to me. Nothing else mattered for those 4 minutes.

Teenage Fanclub.

After Teenage Fanclub finished, I ran up front to score a spot for Superchunk. I’d been on  Superchunk ipod bender all week, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what they might play. Superchunk are the kind of band that knows how to play to their fans. They’re also the kind of band that has been consistently good for decades, so no one cringes when they open with a new song.

Superchunk.

The material off of Majesty Shredding sounded amazing and blended in so seamlessly with the old material, that only the diehard fans would be able to tell which was which. They played a set peppered with obvious favorites from all eras like “Hyper Enough”, “Precision Auto” and “Slack Motherfucker”, but also through in some less obvious but absolutely amazing stuff like their cover of the Magnetic Fields’ “100,000 Fireflies” and “Without Blinking”, which by consensus in my group of friends was the biggest and best surprise of the night. Needless to say, I left the show completely exhausted from the excessive dancing and screaming and my face hurt from smiling so much.

Superchunk.

Though the sound quality isn’t fabulous, here’s a video of Superchunk playing “Iron On” just for a little more visual proof of how hard they still rock. (Listen for the moment when the audience screams “We got so drunk that night!”)

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBeJ2wlelxI]

Check out the rest of Lori Paulson’s gorgeous photos!

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Imaginary Scoop Merge Showbox at the Market Superchunk Teenage Fanclub Telekinesis!

Teenage Fanclub, Superchunk, and Telekinesis at Showbox at the Market October 14th

Welcome to Mergefest, Northwest edition. We’re so unbelievably giddy about this show, we can hardly contain our little imaginary selves. From the moment this show was announced, we’ve been ticking off the days on our imaginary calendars, waiting and waiting for the magic that will occur the night of October 14th at Showbox at the Market, when the reverby swoonful magic of Teenage Fanclub will meet the crunchy and masterful indie rock of Superchunk, supported by our own hometown indie pop hereos Telekinesis. It’s gonna be amazing.

On top of that amazement, all 3 bands will be touring new material! Teenage Fanclub just came out with the fabulous Shadows, which our own Chris Estey adored, stating of the track “The Fall” “Like with many great Teenage Fanclub songs, it creeps in the background till you remember what poured the Scotch into the Scotch-taped remnants of your own multi-shattered heart.” Superchunk have the ever anticipated Majesty Shredding coming out in September, and Telekinesis are working on a new record right now. I’m sure we’ll hear the hits we all want to hear, but we’ll also be treated to some new stuff as well.

 

And, to celebrate, here’s a video from each band:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw49UgKoZnQ&feature=av2e] [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSCKEN2tVLw&feature=fvst] [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fmjYKNH9gc&feature=related]

Categories
Merge Record Review Teenage Fanclub

Shadows

(Teenage Fanclub play with Superchunk on October 14, 2010 at the Showbox in the Market.)

It’s been a half decade since the last Teenage Fanclub record Man-Made, but their influence has never gone away, even if melancholy power pop bands have come along within that span of time which don’t know how much they owe to the Scottish kings. Of course, on early 90s brightly shined gems like Bandwagonesque the band was itself unafraid to remind underground pop-lovers of Big Star or Badfinger or the brimming years of indie bands like Orange Juice and Josef K. from their own region less than ten years before.

In that era, Normal Blake and Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley updated those sounds with an “alternative rock” friendly grind in the guitars and left buzz humming in the amps, along with an excitable rasp in vocals vividly anticipating unrequited love. But new full-length Shadows is a haunted album, a September Song cycle albeit lovely and full of dazzling ear-worms, quite clear and direct in both sense of the word “tone.” Opening track “Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything” has that mid-late 80s Cure-swoon riff on bass and rhythm guitar that propelled less doomy bands, but always feels like a brisk walk near burning leaves after a bittersweet break-up. When the chorus elegantly explodes with horns and strings and keyboards as the song title is repeated, you can imagine the angels knitting a warm shawl for the boys to share (as they share the vocals and playing throughout, and the “ba-ba-bas” and “oh-wo-wos” too).

Next up, “Baby Lee” is based on several stacks of the perfect beat band crescendo describing a stiff yet masochistic adoration (“Make me suffer, tell everyone that you know”) set to a slightly slower, mellow variation on a nugget from Beatles ’65. It’s one of many tracks in which the narrator is watching from a distance, pining for what was probably out of his reach in the first place. “The Fall” follows with an even more settled pace, as the protagonist describes how he “fell into another world” and “crossed lines I’d never thought I’d cross” and is trying to light a fire under his own ass to wake up in the autumnal afterglow. Like with many great Teenage Fanclub songs, it creeps in the background till you remember what poured the Scotch into the Scotch-taped remnants of your own multi-shattered heart.

If you were more of a fan of their classic Grand Prix, when the band found the snow leopard in their sound and rode it into sophisticated, golden glory, Shadows will be a welcome return. It fits the Merge label like a glove, and will be a joy to anyone leafing through the catalogue to find the next installment in a 69 Love Songs reissue. They still are unafraid to show their influences bluntly, even if it’s something as ubiquitous as “There She Goes” by The La’s in “Shock and Awe,” or a strangely Chills feel in the lyrics of “The Back of my Mind” (“She doesn’t know if she’s dead or living / She’s like a diamond taken by the sea / She calls to me from the back of her mind”). They just openly gush out on the same gorgeous records we all play to ourselves in the eternal bedrooms of our minds. In attempting to recreate the feelings those records create, Teenage Fanclub have received everything from chocolate-swapped kisses of fanatical followers, to veiled hissing from critics who would wish they would man-down about their relationship wrecks and be more musically aggressive again. In the meantime, they are playing live to promote an album that sounds as if it could very well have taken five years to write and record. And an eternity of broken hearts to live through. And we are very lucky for that, and to play a cool breeze called Shadows in the summer of 2010.

Categories
Imaginary Scoop On The Road Showbox at the Market Superchunk Teenage Fanclub

Best news of the day: Superchunk and Teenage Fanclub TOGETHER in Seattle 10/14

Today in too awesome for words or real sentences…

SUPERCHUNK AND TEENAGE FANCLUB TOGETHER! SHOWBOX AT THE MARKET! 10/14!

And, as if that wasn’t enough, our imaginary local favorites Telekinesis are opening!

Mark your calendars. Tickets go on sale 6/19. Be prepared for what is likely to be THE BEST SHOW THAT EVER HAPPENED.

Some videos to get you stoked:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLJXA5iqnBA&feature=related]

(skip past the first minute of tuning, but yeah, Superchunk still wail!)

And a classic Teenage Fanclub moment:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qmwre-FeEg]

Plus, Superchunk have a new record coming out! Majesty Shredding will be out on Merge this fall, but we get a sneak preview next month with a limited edition 7″, and you can stream the lead track “Digging for Somthing” on the Merge site! Sounds like awesome classic Superchunk to me!

Categories
Geffen iPod Roulette Teenage Fanclub

"Mad Dog 20/20" by Teenage Fanclub

In 1994, David Geffen and cohorts dug some gems (or at least some shiny rocks) out of their collective trash bins to piece together a powerhouse compilation spanning across some of the label’s alt-rock giants including: Nirvana, Weezer, Sonic Youth, and Counting Crows. The leadoff track on this 14-song budget trash sampler was none other than Glasgow’s Teenage Fanclub.

I even dug out the liner notes from my dusty CD pile to precisely relay the printed story that the song “Mad Dog 20/20” was banned from inclusion on 1993’s Thirteen because of the use of the word “fizzin’.” Allegedly, such language is banned in Scotland under the “Good Lyric Act of 1973.” I imagine this may be a smirky euphemism for “our song has terrible lyrics” so we decided not to include it on the record, but one should feel free to interpret the legend in any way desired.

Poetic or not, the brief 2:38 song rides a gentle California surf like a mopier, less precisely harmonic Beach Boys deep cut as it explores the ennui of youth and the substitution of budget potables for human contact and adventure. Although not a bad listen, it is definitely an off-track for the Big-Star enamored band.

I was first knocked over by Teenage Fanclub when I saw the video for “The Concept” (from Thirteen’s predecessor Bandwagonesque) on 120 Minutes one late night in 1991. While Teenage Fanclub may be, to most, a footnote in alternative-rock history, the selection of Bandwagonesque as SPIN Magazine’s album of the year in 1991 (surpassing Nirvana’s Nevermind, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, and REM’s Out of Time), in the same year that Rolling Stone gave the album a 2/5 rating, gave a clear indication of an impending industry radar split.

Categories
Argo BOAT Daylight Basement Death Cab for Cutie Derby Ghost Stories Live Show Review Pleasurecraft Slender Means Tea for Julie Teenage Fanclub The Seaworthies The Village Green

The Imaginary Live Show Rundown

Has Seattle ever been this hot? And no, we're not talking about the un-Seattle-like broiling temps — we're talking about all the amazing live shows we've seen so far, as well as the great shows we're looking forward to in the coming weeks. Sizzle, I say!

Two of our imaginary highlights of the summer so far both focused on new Seattle record releases: the Math and Physics Club EP release show at Chop Suey, and the Argo EP release show at the Comet.

Argo has long been an imaginary favorite, so we were thrilled to sponsor the release show for their latest EP, The Needs (Ana-Them records). And what an extravaganza the night was! In addition to new Argo music, the night also celebrated the release of local artist Joe Alterio's comic book 365, and featured antics of the Audiopoet, DJ Bruce Leeroy, and the disco-down-ability of local band Pleasurecraft.

 

The Seaworthies. photo by Breanne Koselke And let's not forget about the Seaworthies. Straight outta Kennewick, Washington, the Seaworthies were the super-cool surprise highlight of the night for me. The boy/girl duet were just wacky and unexpected in the best of ways with their dreamy sort of lo-fi electro-pop. Don't be sad if you missed the show. The Seaworthies be playing at the Slender Means CD release show at the Crocodile Cafe on August 27th {see our recommended upcoming shows, below}.

I sadly missed all that was the Argo EP-release show, but I had a blast at the Math and Physics Club EP release show.

Math and Physics Club at Chop SueyMAPC just released their second EP Graduation Day on Matinée Records, and the show was just another testament to their (incredibly well-deserved and fast-growing) fanbase. Which is my long-winded way of saying: the show was packed, and the atmosphere at the all-ages show was positively jubilent.

Tullycraft at Chop Suey. Photo by Curt DoughtyTIG-fave Tullycraft opened with their hand-clapping sonorous sing-along vocals, and the Salteens from Vancouver closed the night. From the piercing four-part a cappella opening notes of their set (our friend Steve charmingly called them, "tighter than a Bangkok lady-boy"), the Salteens surprised (and thrilled) the crowd with their shit-tight harmonies and stage presence galore. Despite being the only non-home-towners on the bill, the Salteen's managed to keep people out late on a school-night, and earn themselves an encore to boot. No easy feat in these parts…

Our new all-ages friend Justine from Mercurial Sound came to the show and wrote a few kind words about it. In her own words, "Tullycraft sounds exactly like summer would if it had its own album. With perky melodies and guitar riffs, and vocals that sound just like that cute neighbor boy who’s got a surprise, Tullycraft brings out the exact same feelings, for me at least, as games of capture the flag, neighborhood barbeques, and riding the fast rides at the town fair. Okay, I probably wasn’t singing along to "Fuck Me I'm Twee" in my capture the flag days. The feeling though, was the same, and probably more fitting than capture the flag in a 17 year old’s summer vacation."

It's funny 'cause it's true! Do check out Mercurial Sound. It's a great run-down of the all-ages scene in Seattle…

BOATYou'd think that I would spend a bulk of this article talking about how much I cried at the beauty of the Teenage Fanclub show {8/3/05, Neumos}. But actually, that show rather paled in comparison to the Boat show a few days prior {7/29, Mars Bar}. Boat charmed the fairly packed Friday night Mars Bar audience with selections from their limited-edition first album, yet-to-be-released EP and a few covers (including but not limited to Neil Diamond and Velvet Underground songs).

Our posse was so taken by their catchy lo-fi Shins-esque vocals and smart quirky lyrics that we couldn't help but handclap back-up parts from the first and second row positions we had staked out. They combine early Kinks know-how and beef it up with Graham Coxon moxie. The end result is clever, earnest, and damn catchy. Boat even when the extra mile with their construction paper cut-out stage decorations and a drummer with a paste-on moustache.

It has been a while since I have been as excited for a Monday night show than I am for this Monday, August 22nd at Chop Suey {again, see our recommended upcoming shows, below}.

Now that you've finally gushed about your love for all things Boat, are you finally going to tell everyone about your travels now, Liz…?

Holy cow — yes! I just got back from the Athens PopFest. I was there last week for a two-day portion of the four-day festival. It was organized/presented by the swell folks at Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. Huge thanks to Mike and Eric who really outdid themselves putting together quite the sampling of today's indie-pop community.

I came back with a whole new pile of bands to love, like Fabulous Bird, the Mega Hurts, the French Horns, and the Smittens.

You should read my entire Athens Popfest rundown to learn all about it.

You really should read it. It's the best place I know to meet your newest twee infatuation.

By the way, did you see TIG mentioned in the September issue of Spin magazine? Right there on the first page of the cover story on Death Cab for Cutie?

Okay, so maybe they didn't *spell out* www.threeimaginarygirls.com, but I got a qu
ote in there and that is enough for my mom to tell her bridge group about. That's me! "Liz Riley, Deathcab fan."

And in case you live under an indie-rock rock and somehow missed the news, the official word on the street is that on August 30th, Death Cab for Cutie will release their sixth full-length album and major label debut, Plans, on Atlantic Records. Tickets for their Seattle performance at the Paramount on November 18th go on sale this Saturday, August 27th.

Could we be more excited? No. Especially for Liz, world-renown DCFC fan.

Speaking of excited, let's talk about upcoming must see shows. What pre-Bumbershoot shows are you two looking forward to?

As I already mentioned above, Boat is going to be playing with another one of our local loves, the Elephants, and Barsuk's Little Champions on Monday, August 22nd. Rumor has it Boat will finally have some t-shirts and copies of their first and second releases for sale… both of which are fit for display on your mantle. Don't get me started on how those Boat guys know how to wield a glue gun.

Just look at this album art. When was the last time you saw such craftsmanship, I ask you?

I do love me the Boat. I'm also looking forward to the Portland lovefest at the Crocodile on August 25th, with Tea For Julie, Derby, and The Village Green. You should go out to celebrate that three of Portland's finest are making the I-5 northly trek simultaneously.

Dolour. Photo by Nate Manning.On August 27th, you have a dilemma: It's the Slender Means CD release show at the Crocodile. Their debut full-length Neon & Ruin is breathtaking, and their live shows are always incredible. The Crystal Skulls and the Seaworthies are also on the line-up.

But then over at Chop Suey, it's the Fruit Bats album release, with an incredible local lineup rounding out the bill: Dolour, Lillydale, and Ghost Stories. Shane Tutmarc from Dolour told us that this will be Dolour's last show of the year, as they're busy writing and recording, preparing for the release of three (3!!!!) new albums. According to Shane, the show will feature almost all new material too.

It's like, which show's more historically significant? Dolour is hard to resist… but the Slender Means new release is amazing. And both shows have such great supporting line-ups too… especially that Fruit Bats show, with Ghost Stories (great indie-pop from members of Mines/the Joggers), and the lovely Lillydale. It's not like you have much chance of show-hopping. I wish we knew how to guide you on this one, imaginary readers.

Introducing Bre Loughlin's latest project, Daylight Basement. Who doesn't love a green guitar? Photo by Pasha Gross.At least there's no such quandry on August 31st. You must come to Chop Suey to witness the debut of Daylight Basement. The band, which started off as a lo-fi electronic project of Bre Loughlin from Kuma, has fleshed out into the most promising lineup we've heard in ages, featuring Bre (guitar and vocals), Dejha Colantuono from Rotten Apples (bass and vocals), David Bos from the Jeunes (guitar), and Davis Martin from Maktub (drums). Move over, New Pornographers — looks like Seattle has a super-band of its own now!

If that's not enough to get you outta the house, Seattle's favorite dance sibs the Long Ranger and EMI recording artist the Juan McLean round out the bill. Come witness what just might be Seattle musical history in the making {and dance/sweat/party in the process}.

See you at a show, suckas!