Three Imaginary Girls

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

{Telekinesis / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

There were so many great times in 2011 that we've had to divide them up into little compartments just to review them all: there are the photos that captured everything in the perfect just-so kind of way, forever burning the days and nights into the backs of our minds and our notebooks, and the moments where the light was less than perfect but we were swept off our feet nonetheless. Even though we're likely forgetting some key {literal and metaphorical} snapshots from both categories, we've taken a crack at listing our favorites spanning back to January of this year.

{The Young Evils / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo-and-moment #10: Michael Lee {of The Young Evils} :: Just the other month — was it November? — we found ourselves at the Rendezvous in Belltown for a most-excellent set from our friends The Young Evils, who put on a performance so good that it left us practically beside ourselves at the thought of new music coming from their camp sometime in 2012. While they shook and swayed the stage, we managed to snap our tenth-most-favorite shot of the year in between applause and hollers of bass player Michael Lee, who was looking particularly dapper that evening all dolled-up in a suit and tie. His whole vibe had a very alt.indiepop.McCartney-esque slice to it, and we're so glad we managed to capture it in a photo! {more photos from the show} {The Young Evils}

{Pike Place Market / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Pike Place Market / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment(s)-and-photo(s) #10: the Market in the summertime :: Right around the time of the Eddie Vedder / Glen Hansard shows this year — July, to be exact — we found ourselves with a bit of free time and some friends visiting from out of town {namely one of our imaginary Austin liasons, Amanda}, which made for an excellent excuse to get our tourist on down at Pike Place Market. Even though the sun this summer was moderate and fleeting, we were able to soak up some of it on the sidewalks and benches on some of the most picturesque spots in town, by far making it one of our favorite little slices to remember 2011 by! {more photos from the Market}

{Heligoats / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #9: Heligoats :: Ah! Heligoats may just be our favorite knew-about-but-didn't-know-about-until-this-year act, which we happily discovered during his sets over the weekend of the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular. Seen above performing at Columbia City Theater earlier this month, Heligoats {in this incarnation as Chris Otepka, solo} stole our hearts and our kneesock-clad tapping toes all at once with his wordy, smart storylines and earnest, upbeat sound — and to have this photo to remember it by makes it all the better! {more photos of the Imaginary Holiday Spectacular} {Heligoats official}

Favorite moment #9: Sean Rowe's set at the Triple Door :: Just as the Heligoats set was a "knew this was going to be good, but not that good — holy shit, you guys!" kind of performance, so was Sean Rowe in his opening spot for Marketa Irglova at the Triple Door. As we wrote post-show, what started off appearing as yet another beardy, earthy-vibe guitar-clad dude on a stage wound up being one of the best sneak-up-and-punch-you-in-the-gut sets of the year. It's difficult to get the whole vibe from the iPhone video above, obvs, and it doesn't all necessarily translate onto his recorded work 100% of the time, either — but believe us when we tell you that Sean Rowe is not to be missed live. He literally had us on the edge of our seats for the entirety of the set, even managing (unintentionally, of course) to overshadow Marketa's performance by a few percentage points. {photos from Sean's set} {Sean Rowe official}

{Greg Vandy / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #8: Greg Vandy :: Whether he's laying down his genius out in the form of producing brilliant shorts {see: Frank Fairfield, Alela Diane, etc.}, holding court in the Roadhouse, or waxing poetic on the best band you've never heard of over at American Standard Time, we can say without hesitation that we absolutely love everything Greg Vandy does, and this outtake from a portrait session at KEXP earlier this year is no exception. 'Nuff said. {more photos of Greg} {The Roadhouse on Facebook} {American Standard Time}

{112 Printworks / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #8: all things 112 PrintWorks :: Our friends at the esteemed Seattle Show Posters and Row Boat Press pulled the trigger on a gem of move earlier this year by opening 112 PrintWorks, a one-stop shop for more excellent goods than we can shake our proverbial stick at: prints {and a print shop to make them in}, t-shirts and totes {and the ability to screen them}, and of late even some records and doo-dads that fold right into their vibe. Think favorite Etsy shop meets gritty, brilliant local printmaker, and you've got the space at 112. {more photos from the opening} {112 PrintWorks}

{Mal de Mer / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #7: Mal de Mer :: Making it into the first half of our top ten of 2011 for a second time is the versatile, ever-dapper Michael Lee, seen here in lead-singer form with his band Mal de Mer. This snapshot is from an incredible upbeat set MdM put on opening up for the Globes who opened up for Telekinesis at the Crocodile, right around the time of the Twelve Desperate Straight Lines release. And we loved every minute of it! {more photos of the TK / Globes / MdM show} {Mal de Mer official}

{Okkervil RIver / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #7: Okkervil River's set at the Neptune / the Neptune opening, period! :: We can't say enough about how absolutely, positively stoked we are about the Neptune's existence — and how we were able to ring it in with a full-frontal indie rock set from Okkervil River earlier this year. The venue is gorgeous, the sound was tremendous, OKR was flawless, and we really couldn't have asked for a more perfect ease-in to the warm, welcoming bath that is quickly becoming one of our favorite venues in town! {more photos from the Okkervil River show} {Okkervil River} {The Neptune}

{Telekinesis / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #6: Telekinesis :: As we mentioned above, the night we spent with Telekinesis, the Globes and Mal de Mer at the Crocodile was easily one of our favorite shows of the year. Upbeat, enrapturing, toe-tap inducing sad-happy sounds abounded, as well as photos that pulled the whole night together to share it out the next day — including this gem of Michael Benjamin Lerner from the wide view stage right. Swoon! {more photos from the show} {Telekinesis official}

{Nathaniel Rateliff / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #6: Nathaniel Rateliff's set at the Tractor :: Almost as much as we freaked out about Elbow at Austin City Limits — and man, did we freak out!! — this was the level of anticipation and blissyness we had our expectations set at as we went into this year's Nathaniel Rateliff performance {who opened up for Jessica Lea Mayfield at the Tractor}. Nathaniel did not disappoint, with a dozen-song set that proved every track of his albums, every moment of every Daytrotter session and every memory we held dear about 2010's Triple Door performance to be true to form. One of our favorite artists that you may not know about outside of our relentless gushing, Nathaniel is a hands-down, non-negotiable, not-to-be-missed act should you be lucky enough to have him come through your town. Sign up for all of his mailing lists / Facebook likes / internets now, or kick the shit out of yourself later when you hear you missed one of his shows. {more photos from Nathaniel and Jessica's show} {NR official}

Up next: our very-favorite top five photos and moments of 2011! And be sure to check out our favorites from this year's festivals too {part one and part two}.

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse.}