Live Show Review The Showbox Thurston Moore

Parquet Courts + Thurston Moore + Heron Oblivion at the Showbox

Show Date: February 16th, 2018

While the venue was still filling up, Heron Oblivion filled the room with a wall of psychedelic sound accentuated with the soft reverby vocals of drummer and singer Meg Baird. The band’s penchant for whammy bar dueling on their Fender Jaguars was mesmerizing and at times flirted with being a bit too much. This has to be one of the whammiest acts I’ve ever seen! Thus began the Night of 1000 Whammys.

Thurston Moore entered the stage and a calming reverence fell over the crowd, basking in the presence of a true rock n’ roll god. Bands of today owe much of their sound to the crunchy dissonance of Sonic Youth, whether they’ll admit it or not. As he played through recent tracks “Cease Fire,” and “Smoke of Dreams,” you could easily hear his former band woven through every guitar line. The last time I saw Thurston, he was much more subdued, performing with both a harpist and a cello. This felt more true to form, though the music still lacked something. Maybe that something was Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo? The band was still captivating all the same, and I kept wondering “Who’s that badass lady on the bass?” Oh NBD it was just Debbie Googe from My Bloody Valentine. Geez. Since this was the Night of 1000 Whammys, of course this set featured dueling Fender Jazzmasters. I have never in my life seen so much whammy-ing in one night.

Parquet Courts took the stage with (big surprise) a Fender Jag and a….Bullet? The hell is that? Get off the stage! J/K you sound great you can stay. As their set began the crowd immediately began to bop around into each other like too many fish in a barrel. I was pushed left, right, forward, back and in a surprising turn of events, up and down since the Showbox’s wooden floor has a lot of give to it. Taking photos seemed ridiculous at this point, but I’m a professional you guys and I still got a few. As they kicked into “Dust” the crowd went nuts and chimed in with every “SWEEP!” The Showbox was completely packed and moving through the crowd proved difficult but they sounded even better the farther I got from the stage.

Parquet Courts were in top form and sounded incredible. They had an air of “too cool to care” with just enough hair flips to let you know they really did. Singer and guitarist Austin Brown killed some technical difficulty time chatting about the cultural significance of Netflix’s The Crown, and NBC’s  Frasier. We all had a laugh when he joked, “for Seattle, Frasier is a huge cultural export. It’s even bigger than grunge! Saying that might haunt me forever.” Yea it might ‘cause now it’s in print buddy!

Old bangers “Borrowed Time” and “One Man No City,” still sounded fresh and honestly, a bit timeless. If you placed many of the tracks from 2016’s Human Performance next to classic post-punk songs, they’d sound right in line. Over the course of the night they played a ton of new material which I didn’t catch the name of, but all I can say is we’re in for another fantastic record from them soon! I can’t wait to hear it and will definitely see them any chance that I can. Night of 1000 Whammys, you were absolutely lovely and my ears are still pleasantly humming with glee.

Photos by Brady Harvey

Imaginary Scoop The Showbox Thurston Moore

Friday Show Recommendations: Parquet Courts+Thurston Moore, Purple Mane + More!

Whether you’re into crunchy guitars or dance parties, this weekend has it all! You simply MUST stop your Winter Netflix Binge Fest 2018 and go out on the town this Friday. “We’re gonna have some fun, show you how it’s done, T.G.I.F.”

First up we recommend Parquet Courts and Thurston Moore at the Showbox! Have you been itching for more post punk in your life? Do you love Lou Reed and Television? Then you’ve gotta get to this show. Parquet Courts are one of those few bands who have successfully re-invented an old sound without sounding like total cop outs. Check out a few of their fantastic tracks below.

Side note –  “Human Performance” may be the first music video to star even creepier looking puppets than Genesis’ “Land of Confusion,” which is doubly hilarious since this video was directed by an artist named Phil Collins. As an added bonus if you head to the show you also get to check out Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth’s solo project!

For those of you milling around Pioneer Square, mosey over to the J&M Cafe for a night jam-packed full of local Seattle bands which will assuredly get your hips shaking. Indie rockers Moon Dial will ease you in with smooth swaying crooners, while Killer Workout will knock it up a notch with Bowiesque synthy dance jams. Cap off your evening dancing your ass off to Prince tribute band Purple Mane. If you don’t leave this show absolutely drenched in sweat and giggling with happiness there is probably something wrong with you.

Tickets for Parquet Courts + Thurston Moore (all-ages) on Friday, February 16th are available at Tickets for Purple Mane + Co. at J&M Cafe are available from The Stranger.

Matador Records Record Review Thurston Moore

Demolished Thoughts

If one were to freely associate a few words with Thurston Moore, phrases like “technical,” “experimental,” or “Sweet Lord, did I just listen to 10 minutes of feedback?” might come to mind. Moore has always seemed to have a certain aloofness in his approach to his music, the results often being something beautiful, at times clinical and cold. His fourth album, Demolished Thoughts, released on May 24th (Matador Records) is an absolutely stunning deviation from his usual aesthetic. His soft, pink underbelly is revealed, and the unexpected warmth and intimacy make for a spectacular listening experience. ‘Atmospheric’ might be an apt descriptor for this album: Moore creates an atmosphere with sound, but it’s a highly accessible one. For once, it feels as though he actively invites his listeners into this space, instead of simply allowing them to observe from its borders.

According to the Matador website, the album was written over a two-year period and recorded over fall of 2010 / winter of 2011 at Beck’s Los Angeles studio, as well as in Northampton, Mass. Beck’s influence is unmistakable here, as it has a very similar orchestration and tone to that of Sea Change. The result is an organic confluence of tracks, and a continuity of sound that one would not necessarily expect from either artist. Moore’s hallmark dissonance, distortion, and feedback are nearly non-existent on this album, and despite a somewhat brief 45-minute length, it undulates slowly with a natural drama. It is not overwrought or artificial. It is simply beautiful music.

Moore’s use of violins and harps adds a textural element that is both subtle and clever, softening or crispening a track as needed. He has used violinist Samara Lubelski on other albums with stellar results. The addition of harpist for Kurt Vile, Mary Lattimore, was an excellent compliment, and the sound produced would almost seem to suggest they had been working together for years. Of the two musicians, Moore said: “Beck and I discussed many players we thought would compliment the record in all its improvisatory experimentation and focus on song-slip. We decided that Samara Lubelski (violin) and Mary Lattimore (harpist) had to play and we invited them to join us. We fed them cantaloupes, raw milks, doughnuts, Zuma sushi and Lily’s fish tacos. And we threw shadows into the sun.”

There is no more perfect summation as to what occurred as a result of this collaboration, as this is exactly what the album sounds like. Moore’s vocals take on an almost J Mascis-like quality: soft, sweet, and low. At times, though there is warmth and brightness in the music, an element of tragedy seems to be lurking around the corner in his regular use of minor chords. The tracks are staggered well throughout the album with regard to both sound and tone. The first track, “Benediction,” has is dreamy and hypnotic, and the combination of strings and guitar plus Moore’s subdued voice sets a romantic kind of tone. There are moments, like those in tracks like “Mina Loy” (a perfect song topic for Moore), with its chilling Mexican showdown whistle, where the sound becomes paradoxically calming and menacing at the same time. Illuminine has the sleepy electricity of a first kiss. “Circulation” is a bit crunchier, and is more of a return to Moore’s default setting, and features more orchestral swells, somewhat reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkin’s “Disarm.” Perhaps the finest track on the album, however, is “Blood Never Lies.” The combination of female accompaniment and strings elevates and brings a gentle, tender sweetness to it that allows for infinite replay and lovesick sighing. “Orchard Street” again transitions back to a more traditional sound from Moore, but does not destroy flow of album, but rather accentuates it, similar to a lighter version of something like Sonic Youth’s “Peace Attack.” Thematically, words and concepts like circulation, blood, rain, and, transition all lend themselves to the overall fluidity of the album and perhaps to Moore’s approach to its creation.

Demolished Thoughts is nearly impossible to describe. Though this is a departure from the status quo for Moore, he is still, at his core, very true to himself and his sound as an artist. Robert Palmer, rest his soul, was absolutely right — “Trying to describe something musical is like dancing to architecture, it’s really difficult.” Add the ripple of it being a Thurston Moore album and it’s more like painting to quantum physics.

Imaginary Scoop Matador Sonic Youth Thurston Moore

Got any Capitol Hill Block Party line-up guesses / rumors? My money is on Thurston Moore…

Thurston Moore photo by Ari Marcopoulos, 2011

{Photo: Ari Marcopoulos, 2011}

I just heard a song from the new Thurston Moore album {set to be released on 5/24 on Matador} and it’s as sweet as a Carpenters cover {listen/download “Benediction” now}.  As Thurston describes the song:

“On day one I played the first song sitting in front of a Beck-wired microphone, its design informed by the cut of Joseph Beuys’ cerebellum. The jam is called “Benediction”, where the camera records the adult girl reading a love letter written on the back blank pages of her hymnal where he knew only she could find it.”

And while I was reading through his self-penned bio {well done, Thurston!}, I noticed his summer tour schedule — and oh boy — it looks like there is a neat little block of time in the Pacific Northwest that could accomodate a stop at the Capitol Hill Block Party?

5/20 Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
6/25 Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, MA
6/26 Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, MA
7/15 Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL
7/16 High Noon, Madison, WI
7/18 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theatre #
7/21 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre #
7/23 Portland, OR – Alladin Theatre #
{where will Thurston be on 7/22 or 7/24????}
7/26 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall #
7/28 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/29 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/30 San Diego, CA – Casbah #

# w/ Kurt Vile

Have you heard any whisperings or noticed any other Seattle-gaps on other tour schedules around that magic July 23, 2011 date? Do tell!!!