Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Your monthly imaginary horoscope told in album reviews!

May 2005 AstroPOP! is brought to you with musical reviews by igDana, stella, dreamerseven, and imaginary marcel, as well as special astrological input by Imaginary Boy Lorenzo.

Money looks a lot like love this month Aries, and love can look a lot like money. Likewise, on their latest release Tree City {New Line}, Robbers on High Street sounds a lot like… where to start? From a Guided By Voices vibe, to a few well-placed Television-styled guitar riffs, to some Strokes-meets-Franz-Ferdinand kind of hipster roughness in the mix, to a few songs that are almost more Spoon sounding than I remember Spoon sounding, these Robbers know how to steal from the best. The end result is well-polished lo-fi indie rock, a wacked blend of the upbeat and the angst-ridden. Teeming with good hooks, the CD still suffers a little too obvious at times. Just like your love life. Or was that your finances? Whatevs. This is a good month for you to play the Lotto, Aries, and to take a Vegas-sized bet on love. Just don't dredge too much on the bits from your past, or be too complacent about making sure your finances are covered. You deserve to go wild, just make sure you can pay the tab when you're done.

Oh, baby, there's never been a better time to be a Taurus, with endless days of unexpected sunshine, and everyone loves you. One might say — in ones best Ethel Merman voice — that everything's coming up roses! And while we're belting Broadway, might I say that the intro to Influencing Friends and Making People by local Seattle band the Nevvers {self-released} somehow reminds me of showtunes. It feels like the start to a strange and twisted indie-pop-opera, with the backing vocals, piano, light guitar, chanting vocals, and straight-ahead drums. Just when I'm ready to crack out the jazz hands, the album kicks in with a funkier beat and I find yourself just strutting along, but it's still there — the almost storytelling vibe makes it seem like it would fit nicely in an updated version of Hair, or even West Side Story. Maybe the world just needs more musicals for the hipster generation, and if that's true — the Nevvers have got it covered. Good thing for you, Ethel… ahem, I mean, Taurus.

Your dreams are beautiful these days, Gemini. All that swirling unexpected free-will, mixed up with starry nights and precocious children and transformative kisses with the one who knows your soul. It's no wonder you want to stay in bed 'til three in the afternoon these days. Maybe it's because Herman Jolly is back with his band Sunset Valley with their latest sensation Goldbank 78 Stack {In Music We Trust}. Rejoice! Much like the gorgeous chaos of dreams, this record can make you sing, cry, or laugh — sometimes all at once. It's lo-fi, garaged-out indie rock with perfectly-tuned touches of noise and distortion, and it all blends into some strange new world of semi-psychedelic glam rock that gets you shaking your hips to a secret groove while you lose your mind to thoughts that the lyrics whisper in your ears. Listen to the voices, but remember — while dreamtime has messages for you, make sure you don't forget to re-enter reality from time to time, dear Gem. That rent still needs to be paid.

Goddamn, Cancer. Just once I'd like to do a reading for you and talk about how lovely everything in your life is. But alas, I just looked at your chart, and all I can think is, "How can one sign get so much transformation all at once?" The bright spot in your chart this month is friends and associates, so make sure you lean on your support network: friends, co-workers, and imaginary rockstars who'll sing your blues away. Explone's Patrick Porter might be just the fella to help you out. On the self-released Crooks, Patrick and the other Exploners play whimsical yet melancholic pop hooks reminescent of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Nada Surf, and a drizzly Northwest Sunday afternoon. They evoke a gentle spaciousness in their tunes, producing a sound at once fresh and yet familiar. Sounds like just the solace you need this month, Cancer. Incidently, "explone" is a dead English word that means, "to have explained". Does that make things clearer for you? Then attend their CD release show at Chop Suey on May 2 {with Chilean Grey, Robert Deeble, and Sneaky Theives}. Nothing aids transformation like three cocktails and some rock on a school night.

Your climb to the top of the career ladder continues unabated this month, Leo. As easy as you make that look, however, be sure to pay attention to your romantic life. Seattle quintet Kuma understands what it's like to pursuit dreams both amorous and professional. With the release of their debut full-length Fast Colliding, the band has continued with its fervent lush flavor, and the addition of drummer Aaron Nicholes to their guitar and programmed base has exploded their sound to an exponential magnitude. With the ever-dazzling vocals and stage presence of Bre Loughlin, Kuma have self-released a magnificnent work that could launch them to huge success. So it's tour tour tour, but Kuma never makes it look like work. They're in it for the blood and love of it, pursuiting passions while and requiting and exposing their loves. Oh wait, now I'm talking about you again, Leo. And guess what? The stars think this is all a perfect opportunity for you to heal a long-held pattern. Merow.

You know what I'd love about being you right now, Virg? All the hot sex. I mean, in case you haven't noticed, you are shining in the infrared to your preferred gender, and the results can be downright… filthy. You're sultry, slinking around the sweltering club, turning heads. You're dressed in clingy all-black, smudgy kohl lining your eyes (in vogue for girls and boys!), cigarette dangling from your perfect pout as you glide by your awestruck admirers. It could be because you've been listening to Elefant {Hollywood Records} lately. Sure their self-titled disc is a couple years old now, and it can be a bit pretentious at times. But at the album's heart, singer Diego Garcia woos you with his sensual lyrics and his pretty-boy face. The dark, danceable beats are the soundtrack to your subtle striptease, darling. I suggest you conquer your normal tendency to clean everything up, and allow yourself this chance to get a little dirty in the name of love.

Other People's Money Gets You Pregnant. Hmmm… maybe that's it. Or it could be "Other People's Children Earn You Money." Or maybe it's, "Ohmigod, the New Conversation Heart Record Is So Good It Makes me Giggle like a Giddy Rich Child." Something like that, Libra. Full of pop hooks and sass-mouthed lyrics, Grenadine is both an indie-pop lady killer and man-eater, and the standout single "Candy Bitches" is s
o infectious it burns — in all the best ways and places. A must-have for the car CD player this summer. As for that money/pregnancy stuff, my advice, Libra: 1) don't offer candy to strange children 2) keep all the lines of communication, enfrancishement, endowment, and ethics super clear right now, in order to avoid Michael Jacskson-esque lawsuits, and 3) if by "clear" you're thinking Clearblue Easy, cross your fingers for a plus… or is that a negative?

Something is broken at home, Scorp, and dare I say it? It looks like it might be your relationship — or at least, the attention you give to your relationship. These days you're taking a lot of energy from what might be a normally supportive relationship, and using it to bolster the sagging walls of your self-esteem. You're acting as if you were alone in the night, trying to hitch a ride in the middle of Arizona with a flask of whiskey in your back pocket, with the threat of some midnight rain in the skies. But the downpour never hits — there's just lightning across the horizon, and the memory of doleful songs in your head. Have you been listening to Come Across by Bluebottle Kiss {In Music We Trust}? Their moody and moving tunes bring to mind some of the mellower moments of a Bad Seed Birthday Party. There's a desert driving crawl in the background, shifting like a gothic guitar against a sand dune, or like a broken bottle against the side of an empty highway. Play it, and you'll hear hints of bands like Scenic and Lanterna drifting across the CD, only darker and a little bit emo. Just like you, Scorp. Do I need to tell you to cut it out and fix what's broken, whether it's the relationship or the bottle? Or are you smart enough to figure it out on your own?

Diligent worker isn't normally the first phrase that springs to mind for you, Sadgj, but these days you're freaking out like a downright worker-bee. Ain't nothing wrong with that, and you might even be satisfied getting paid with approbation and not dollars. That said, how do you feel about Maroon 5? Do you like to jam out to the Black Crowes? Picture their funk-rock hybrid love babe, slightly less white-washed and produced, and situate it in the Northwest. Got it? You've got Shimmer, a trio of local lads blending musical genres like a wheat grass smoothie and serving it up all Cake Records-stylee. So quit your freaking and keep getting your work on if you must, Sadgj. The really nice secret surprise? This might be the way you meet the one you've been waiting for…

Play, Cappy, play! Why is it so hard to drag you Capricorns outside on a nice day and insist that you just play? I know, everything is going swimmingly at work right now, and you just can't resist making that kind of hay while that kind of sun shines — but dammit! Crack out the Brazilian Girls self-titled album {Verve Forecast}. It's Spanish, it's French, it's German, it's English, and its trancy electronic music will inspire you to dance, create, screw, love, wander, and frolic. "Pussy pussy pussy marijuana," croons front woman Sabina Sciubba on their soon-to-be-infamous single "Pussy", sounding like the best of Ace of Base meets Bebel Gilberto. The rest of the release sounds effortlessly like release itself, gliding through trip-hop, bossa nova, feel-good electronica that'll simmer your summer nights. The real sun is shining, too, Cappy. Let your friends drag you out into the springtime glory from time to time.

Feeling quietly subdued and emotional? It's not like you to hunker down and curl up under the covers, Aquarius, but I understand. Healing that big shit you've been carrying with you ain't fun or easy, and once you're done, all you want to do is find a shell to crawl up inside and call home. Metal Cares {Polyvinyl}, the latest release by Picastro, is touched with a similar raw mirthness, evoking comparisons to early Cat Power, but managing to transcend true gloom and hit with a soft swing at just the right times. This music might make you feel better because it makes you feel so sad. This is rainwater against the windows; this is watching the one you love walk away. The violin cuts your skin, while the drums and guitar hold your hands steady as you weep for times long gone and memories almost faded. Ouchie, Aquarius. This will be a month of middle school angst and seriously adult comtemplation. So here's a crazy thought: since you've never actually let yourself heal before, why don't you actually give it a try this time?

Last month it was boys and money, Pisces — and this month you're still on fire. However, it's tempered itself, and the drive of your will is scoring you knowledge and dreams. Well, it could be the leftover hookers and blow from last month, but a word to the wise: too much of a good thing is still too much. There's something else you need to learn this month. Seattle's lo-fi punk favs A-Frames have learned from their years on indie-label Dragnet Records. They've distilled their sound into a guttersnipe gem of a debut on Sub Pop called Black Forest, where they tip their hats toward the Residents to create fractured, angular, arty rock. Their song structures infuse the verse/chorus/verse formula with some morose little numbers full of wonderfully bleak content, like post-apocalyptic ashes raining from the war-torn skies. It's severely more entertaining that most of the other art punk, disco dance, or coke party kickers out there, and it has way more credibility and realism {and is inspired by better 80's acts} to boot. You could learn a thing or two, Fishes. Just set down the hookers and pick up the books.