Artist Ghostly International Hardly Art Matador Matador Records Sunset Tavern

Cold Cave with Black Marble and Choir Boy at the Sunset Tavern

One of my favorite newer post-punk groups, Black Marblefaced some unfortunate technical difficulties with a malfunctioning synthesizer — a fact which the band members seemed only too well aware of — though they trudged through, if not for the all-too-eager audience’s sake. (The band’s last Seattle show had been at Neumos in May of ’17.) At times, the songs even sounded like they were coming from an alternate universe, which was pretty cool in its own way – especially those from the band’s first full-length, 2012’s coldwave-influenced A Different Arrangement (which, depending on who you ask, is already a bit otherworldly.) All things considered, though, it was a subdued performance; the band let the songs speak for themselves, closing with “Iron Lung” from 2016’s excellent It’s Immaterial, definitely the “warmer” and more summer-y (as much as you can say about any post-punk band) of the band’s two full-lengths.

Black Marble
Black Marble
Black Marble
Black Marble
Black Marble
Black Marble
Black Marble
Black Marble

Cold Cave is the legendary (IMO) contemporary EBM solo project of Wesley Eisold (remember American Nightmare?), but as is the live tradition, he brought a few live members with him, including his partner and frequent collaborator, Amy Lee. The members came on stage, dressed in all black, quickly shrouding themselves in darkness and fog (so much fog*), with Eisold donning sunglasses. Perhaps all was missing was a cigarette. As expected, the set was driving, high-energy; “Confetti” in particular (duh?) incited all the dancing. (EBM, after all, does stand for electronic body music.) Utilizing a live drummer (as opposed to the drum machine on the majority of the band’s recordings) was a smart move and helped land some of their heavier songs especially. Fortunately, their synths were in full order. Max G. Morton even came on stage for a rendition of “Heavenly Metals.” It was an energetic, passionate performance, and the audience couldn’t get enough — rarely do I see fans so into a performance (and, further, the performers) than I did here. Solo projects can be hit-or-miss in the live arena, but this was definitely more towards the former than the latter.

*as an amateur, mostly unskilled photographer, I regret to admit that fog + darkness don’t make for very good photos… hence the single photo below.

Cold Cave
Cold Cave

** Though I unfortunately didn’t manage to get any photos of the first opener Choir Boy, they were excellent — really everything I had hoped based on their fantastic debut full-length Passive With Desire, an album which falls in the New Romantic tradition, with tender synths and an almost orchestral, chamber-pop sound. With respect to Cold Cave, and of course Black Marble, they were maybe the band I was looking forward to the most. In lieu of any accompanying photos, I’ve embedded my favorite track from Passive With Desire below.

Top photo: Cold Cave photo courtesy of Travis Shinn







Matador Perfume Genius Record Review

Put Your Back N 2 It

This album, Perfume Genius's second, sounds like a still-moment widescreen car-crash at first — a horrifying accident beautifully caught by gleaming, descending keys and soft male siren voice. "AWOL Marine" is Mike Hadreas at his most ethereal, the art of ghosting other lost souls musicalized. Put Your Back N 2 It then smokes out that slive of a song, and another reed-thin fragment flickers by: "Normal Song," with more lyrics about nursing the chronic, swooning over the sick, but this time, for the first time for PG, it's gently croaked over twangy acoustic guitar.

The third, "No Tear," is when Antony of Antony & The Johnstons comes in for a bit of a duet, in which the suffering abides by grace. And then Mike's own voice sounds even more like Art Garfunkel's — which presents a problem. The rest of the album is inarguably gorgeous, full of resignation yet pulling out of black despair. But there's no tough Paul Simon stoicism, embrace of worldly anxiety to rise above.

Perfume Giant's first album, Learning, was a dusty padded manilla package full of brokenness sent by a friend at the end of their rope. It was filled with musical doodles that haunted, transcending the tags of "Xiu Xiu rock" from so many who weep out these wispy keyboard/drum machine-type threnodies. The delight was in the details: The weed-smoking and sharing older boyfriend who jumped off a building and left him a cassette tape of Joy Division, the household substances in place of alcohol impulsively consumed by family members, etc. 

Put Your Back N 2 It is about musical vocabulary, not lyrical observations. It's basically a gospel album for those bullied by reality, tortured by gender choices, extinguished by love. I adore it but it doesn't pop out of the mails with black humor and Sharpee drawings, mix tape shared misery. It is behind the glass, face fixed forever in a forlorn grin of sadness and well, sadness. A little bit more humor, less preoccupation with lushness, and I may have been inspired to write this review a month ago. Beauty should never be this hard of a slog, but I don't deny that PG's follow up is indeed a beautiful creation. 

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!!!

Imaginary Scoop Matador Paramount Theatre Pavement

Somebody pinch us: we've got Pavement tickets to give away!

[pavement, by victoria vanbruinisse]

If you’re anything like the rest of the free world, you haven’t seen much of Pavement since sometime in the late nineties. Recording, releasing, and playing live music for the better part of a decade, Pavement firmly established themselves in the lo-fi pool of the ‘alternative’ world in 1989 — that’s just shy of pre-indie, kids — and fizzled out after their final show almost exactly ten years later. Both fringe- and cult-level fans alike have been clamoring for live performances and speculating on reunion tours ever since, and for those of us lucky enough to have come across / stood in line for / offered our next-born for tickets, the time has finally come!

After a decade-long hiatus, Pavement finally hit the road again this year for a European tour and stateside festival circuit (including Sasquatch, Coachella, and Pitchfork Fest), toting along a best-of comp that was released back in March. They’re playing twenty-eight dates in September, and we’re lucky enough to have show number two this month taking place at our very own Paramount Theater on Sunday, September 5th. We’ll be there with bells on, and we’d love for you to join us! Here’s how you can win a pair of tickets to the show:

Sometime between now (yes, right now!) and 5pm on Wednesday (yes, this Wednesday!) send an email to [email protected] with the subject line I’mMeantForPavement — along with a love-letter in the body of the email telling us why you think you should be our lucky winner. We’ll choose from the best entries at random on Wednesday night, and will notify the winner on Thursday. (Yes, we’re serious!) (Yes, we mean every single one of these these exclamation points!)

Good luck, everyone. We’ll see you at the Paramount!

{PS: don’t want to risk it? Mindbending as it is, tickets are still available for purchase here.}



Imaginary Scoop Matador New Pornographers Showbox at the Market

Win a dream date with the New Pornographers

OK, so it’s not exactly as if you and Carl Newman or Neko Case will intimately be sharing a bottle of wine and discussing your childhoods (or maybe you will!), but boy do we have a special treat for you!

The New Pornographers are doing something very special for their 7/31 Showbox at the Market stop: inviting a few lucky fans in for soundcheck and a meet and greet with the band, encompassing the theme of their new album, Together. This fabulous package (Bob Barker style) includes VIP tickets to the show as well!

Along with our friends at Easy Street Records and KEXP, we here at TIG have 2 packages to giveaway! How do I win something so marvelous you might be asking? Simple! Just e-mail us at [email protected] with the subject line “gettogetherwiththenewpornos” (all one word please!) by 9am Friday, July 23rd for a chance to win! This gives you plenty of time to think of some conversation ice breakers!

If you happen to be reading us in a city that is not Seattle, check out the Matador Records Matablog and Facebook page for the full scoop and to see if this amazing experience is offered in your city!

Imaginary Scoop Matador New Pornographers Sole Repair Sportin' Life

What to do after the TIG New Pornographers listening party tonight

Tonight is kind of special, and not in a weak beer tasting way. There’s tons of super fun socializing stuff to do!

First there’s the Three Imaginary Girls-sponsored New Pornographers’ album Together listening party early at 6 PM at the best coffee shop in Greenwood, Neptune (8415 Greenwood Avenue North). This would be a sweet chance to hang out with TIG people, the Greenwood gang, and New Pornographers’ fans, who are to class and sass what a just out of juvie 40 ouncer-lugging Juggalo is to an Insane Clown Posse listening par-tay. The new album has honey-crackling Neko Case co-vocals, tons of sauteed hooks, and deep chocolate cello. Come get your fresh ground bean buzz on and hear it on Neptune’s gnarly s-system with fellow underground rock connoisseurs.

What are you doing later then? Here’s one suggestion: Ladies lounging at Cafe Society at Sole Repair at 9 PM.

After that, I’m going to take off for with my ride to Capitol Hill, to 1001 E. Pike to see Sole Repair’s new swanky lounge lizard-palooza, Cafe Society, hosted by two of the smartest, sweetest, most awesome Seattle leading ladies Jennifer Petersen (of Sportin’ Life Records) and Sarah Walczyk (Powerful Voices).

Cafe Society used to be a Depression-era New York concept, featuring African American artists providing velvety cabaret vibes for the economically challenged night-life who could use some elegant respite from turbulent times. Dressing to the nines, sipping a cocktail, you can relive that tonight with artists Marissa (on Sportin’ Life Records, label of the new decade) and DICE, also featuring sets by DJ Jonny Merlot.

Jen and “White Pepper” Sarah plans to be (according to one of TIG’s favorite sibling, Sound On The Sound) “the reborn Cafe Society is a monthly salon to celebrate female artists of every genre and to encourage conversation and appreciation between women.” The sets at this special night are short, encouraging the patrons to chat up and schmooze with each other. The two ladies have a similar vision of defeating the decentralized drama of being a young woman in a music scene that often doesn’t look out for their best interests.

Imaginary Scoop Matador Mission of Burma The Crocodile

Win your way in to see Mission of Burma at the Crocodile

Photo by Kelly Davidson 

Fact: everyone loves Mission of Burma. Amiright?

Proof: if you happened to be in Boston on October 4, less than a month ago, you were in Boston on Mission of Burma Day. Even more convincing, even Wikipedia loves MOB:

Mission of Burma’s efforts are largely concerned with extending punk’s original vocabulary without losing its essential rebellious spirit. Using rapid shifts in dynamics, unconventional time signatures and chord progressions along with tape effects, Mission of Burma challenges the prevailing idioms of punk while attempting to retain its power and immediacy.

The converse of which is that the exact opposite of the percentage of people who love Mission of Burma is equal to the same percentage of people who like paying for stuff. So, we want to send one of our readers (and a guest) to share in the love of MOB live at the Crocodile on Wednesday, November 11. Just e-mail us by Monday, November 9 at 9am with “BurmaIsNowMyanmar” in the subject line. One name will be drawn at random and it’ll appear on MOB’s guestlist  +1 on Wednesday night.

{Photo by Kelly Davidson}


Imaginary Scoop Matador Spiral Stairs

New Spiral Stairs video: Stolen Pills


Spiral Stairs, aka Scott Kannberg, guitarist for the reuniting Pavement, has a new album out on Tuesday called The Real Feel (Matador Records). Above is the video to the first single, “Stolen Pills”.

(Via Pitchfork)

Imaginary Scoop Matador The Cave Singers

Bated Breath for new Cave Singers release

the cave singers

This may be a little early. And I'm definitely too excited about this. But, Beach House, The Cave Singers first mp3 for their album coming out this August, is up on Matador's website.

Ever since I heard some of their new songs live at Neumos' in February, I've been craving more. The songs they played live were infectious and beautiful and I was humming them without knowing what they were for days afterwards.

Get pumped.

(Photo: Laura Musselman)

Condo Fucks Matador Record Review


Only Yo La Tengo could come up with a side project with a name as spectacular as Condo Fucks. Only Yo La Tengo could come up with music that is worthy of such a spectacular name. Fuckbook (a wink-wink, nudge, nudge to the 1990's cover heavy Fakebook), the Condo Fucks "5th" release, plays like 30 minutes of rifling through Yo La Tengo's album collection with one of them leaning over your shoulder saying "Yeah, that one is one of my favorites!."

Exceedingly lo-fi (and almost inaudibly lo-fi at times), Fuckbook is a fast, fuzzy romp through 11 cover tracks that one can tell the group really enjoys playing. It has a certain "busted singing in the shower quality," but openly displays their encyclopedic knowledge. The tracks appear to be meticulously selected for cohesion in sound and tone, while still maintaining an air of fun and playfulness. Most all of the tracks had a garagey quality to them to begin with, and those that didn't benefit from the lo-fi garage treatment. One should not expect the classic Yo La Tengo sound. They even make a point to put a sticker on the packaging of the album that says "This is NOT the new Yo La Tengo album." The production quality and sound are much closer to the New Jersey WFMU Yo La Tengo is Murdering the Classics than anything else in their large and varied discography.

The result of the efforts of "Kid Condo," "Georgia Condo," and, um, James McNew is, to a certain degree, a mixed bag. By far, the best tracks are the stripped down, rocket- fueled Small Faces cover of "What You Gonna Do About It?," Richard Hell's "The Kid With the Replaceable Head" (the very best track on the album), and, surprise of surprises, "Shut Down," by the Beach Boys, with harmonization intact.  I have never been a Beach Boys fan, but if the Condo Fucks covered Smile, I think my head would explode Scanners style with glee. Kid Condo's guitar sears through all every track, squealing with feedback. Georgia Condo's expert work at the drum kit may sound garagey and unrefined at first listen, but her attention to detail and ability to keep a beat shine through, especially after one listens to the original version of a track. The only semi-disappointing track was the Troggs' "With a Girl Like You." Though it is always a delight to hear Georgia sing, her demure, sweet little voice had no place on an album this loud. The feedback from the guitar completely engulfed her vocals in feedback, and the louder one would turn it up to hear the vocals, the worse the quality of them became.  

Fuckbook is a fabulous album for a side project. It feels like it scratches their itch to play fast and loose, to geek out a bit, and to play simply for the joy of collaborating with people they love to work with. It's short, sweet, and sloppy, and has very high replay value. Fuckbook? Fuck yes!