Three Imaginary Girls

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


{Barbara Manning, Can You Imagine?, and headliners Midday Veil play The Sunset this Friday, December 3rd, 2010.}

Barbara Manning currently lives in Chico, adores baseball, started out in power pop and rock bands (like 28th Day and World of Pooh), sort of prophesied riot grrrl, and has also written 18 minute song-cycles to firebugs. She’s lovingly covered the likes of Amon Duul, Richard Thompson, The Deviants — and is one of the friskiest and most experimental singer-songwriters you’ll ever see. Manning is playing this Friday night, December 3, at the Sunset, and if you want to hear one of the most exceptional female creators of torqued torch and firepit freak rock lay it like it’s meant to be played, you’ll be there.

This devilishly charismatic collaborator with Stephin Merritt’s band The 6ths (she sang “San Diego Zoo” from their album Wasp’s Nests), among many other indie demigods, will probably melt the other members of her cult that night. I’m personally really hoping she plays “Someone Wants You Dead,” which she has recorded twice — and yes, both times were worth it. The original version ended her twelve track 1988 debut Lately I Keep Scissors, which is absolutely essential for any indie rock collection. “Every Pretty Girl” (the video up top) was also on that record, as was was the wonderfully bizarre “Mark E. Smith & Brix.” Manning doesn’t record or play out too often, but she is responsible for inspiring the indie pop you ache for, and even taking it into the weirder alternative and American anti-folk forms you’ve grown to enjoy as well.

If you’re a Three Imaginary Girls fan, she is your past, present, and future.

To make the night absolutely irresistible, openers Can You Imagine? and headliners Midday Veil will also be playing. Can You Imagine? is Steve Fisk (!!) on keyboards. Wait: the guy who is so extremely creative, he’s produced and played on albums by everyone from The Posies, Low, Beat Happening, Damien Jurado, Steven Jesse Bernstein, and so many other Pacific NW-centric performers? Yes — the same Steve Fisk, sound-crafter par excellence. This is his razor-sharp psyche-power pop group with Peter Bagge, who is from several underground pop bands, most notably the Action Suits, and as Fantagraphics’ PR madman and curator puts it Larry Reid puts it, “Seattle comics’ Robert Crumb.”

Can You Imagine? also features three female vocalists: Michelle Plaitis (front woman/lead singer), Rachel Frost (backing vocals and bass), and Sue Merrill (backing vocals and drums) to make sugar-sweet and speedy girl-group energy combine with 60’s British Invasion rock and 70’s Los Angeles beat group-slash-punk influences. Their self-titled debut CD is (to be expected) superbly produced, the vocals are truly fetching, has a great cover from Bagge, and is one of my top ten favorite records of the year.

This crew could have headlined and I would have been inviting most of my best friends to the show. Don’t miss ’em!

Rounding it out at midnight at the newly refurbished Sunset (with Flying Squirrel Pizza right there to soak up the beer!) is Seattle synth-rock from Midday Veil, which just released their new album Eyes All Around. Rumor is you can hear “Krautrock, folk, drone, blues, noise, new age, psych, metal, and various kinds of non-western and traditional music” in their sound. They started out as a duo of synth-player David Golightly and vocalist/guitarist Emily Pothast. The current lineup also includes Timm Mason (aka Aphonia/Debacle solo artist Mood Organ) on baritone guitar and Chris Pollina on drums “and the occasional banjo.”

Banjo, MFs!

Dave Segal said of them at The Stranger, “Midday Veil keep on ascending to higher levels of heightened-awareness psychedelia that’s as beautiful and majestic as a satellite photo of Jupiter’s moons.” And Segal is a critic you can trust. Hope to see him there for it all too!