Three Imaginary Girls

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

{This is part two of two in our best-of photo series of 2011. Take a peek over at part one here, and don't forget to check out our festival best-ofs part one and two as well!}

{Field trip to Ocean Shores / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #5: Ocean Shores :: In a get-to-know-your-roots {PNW edition} kind of road trip, we hopped in the car one weekend with esteemed sometimes-imaginary photographer and fellow transplant Laura Musselman for a ride out to the water — Ocean Shores, to be exact — with jaunts to Aberdeen and Hoquiam on the way. It was all at once melancholy and sun-filled, juxtaposing sad, semi-abandoned mainstreets with a big, bright, full-fledged kite festival once we were beachside. Strange as it was for those two worlds to meet, it was definitely a day trip for the books, yielding a half-dozen photos that easily made our best-ofs for the year (like the one above). {more field trip photos} {Laura Musselman}

{Eef Barzelay / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #5: Eef Barzelay {at the Madrona Ale House} :: The night after Eef Barzelay's headlining appearance at our Imaginary Holiday Spectacular, he played a much quieter affair as part of a private party at the Madrona Ale House. Abandoning the PA after three-quarters of a song, he sat down across the table from us, where he proceeded to stay for much of the show. The result? A very front-row seat for one of our favorite performances of the year. You can even hear a moderately decent recording of one of his Journey project tracks from the show over here and relive the moment along with us! {more photos of Eef} {Eef Barzelay / Clem Snide bandcamp}

{Lovesick Empire / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #4: Lovesick Empire at Neumos :: This one happened so early in the year that it almost slipped through the great sort-through! Way back in January, Lovesick Empire played an AMAZING set at Neumos, and even though they're pushing forward with a slightly different lineup than seen here, they are still making some of the most kick-ass music coming out of Seattle today. It's huge-sounding, dirty, full of guitars, and cuts right to the point — another one to add to your "do not miss under any circumstances" list of live bands to catch so that you don't regret it forever the morning after they've played. {more photos from the Neumos show} {Lovesick Empire FB}

{John Roderick / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #4: John Roderick's pre-City Arts house show :: We were the luckiest of all ducks to not only attend, but actually host a super-intimate house show with John Roderick out in Ballard this past October, where less than two dozen folks pulled together a potluck and a city of tealights for one of our favorite shows of the year. John held court in front of the mantel, singing and storytelling and taking requests for more time than we could keep track of (minutes? hours?) while the room swooned away with delight — like Eef's Alehouse show, we even managed to sneak in a homemade recording, which you can take a listen to here. Honestly, there's not much we can think of for 2012 that's going to be able to top it. {more photos from the house show} {The Long Winters}

{Pickwick / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #3: Pickwick :: Yep, we are fully on the bandwagon — we loves us some Pickwick. And we loves us some Galen especially, with his super-expressive stage presence and a pair of lungs that just won't quit! Seen here belting it out at Columbia City Theater earlier this year, we're super stoked to not only have seen a great show in such an intimate venue while we had the chance, and to have the photos to prove it — but also for all the good things to come in 2012 (read: what will likely be one of our favorite albums of the year). {more Pickwick photos} {Pickwick bandcamp}

{The Fleet Foxes / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment(s) #3: The entire Fleet Foxes set at the Moore :: Call us crazy, call us under-a-rock dwellers, call us sometimes blindingly addicted to varying degrees of full-throttle indie rock and decadent post-twee — but one thing you couldn't call us before this year were folks that were well-versed in all things Fleet Foxes. Another one for the heard-of, listened-to but hadn't immersed-in file, we were casual FF fans at best, with an appreciation for everything they'd done and all that we could see they were capable of — until we had the fortune of seeing them play at the Moore Theater earlier this year, where they took to the stage for two nights with the Cave Singers (hello, PERFECT LINEUP). On top of All The Obvious Things That Are Perfect About The Moore, they {the venue, that is} knocked it clear out of the park by leaving the entire first five-ish rows of "pit" area completely free of seats, so photographers and fans alike were able to come right up to the stage for what wound up being an absolutely one-of-a-kind experience. We left with soaring hearts and adjectives from friends like "absolute" and "cathedral" swirling through our mental notebooks, finally realizing firsthand exactly what it is that this band does that makes them so fucking great.

And PS, while that isn't the best photo ever to grace our pages, it's actually one of two film shots we were able to coax out of our non-digital camera at the show that night, and we're so excited to have it tucked in a shoebox for posterity's sake. {original post and photos} {Fleet Foxes site}

{Modern Luv / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #2: Modern Luv :: Another so-early-we-almost-forgot-it shot! Earlier this year we were delighted to help out our friend Mark Siano with some promotional photography for his sellout show at the Triple Door, Modern Luv. We put the shoot together at the Fred Wildlife Refuge on Capitol Hill, and had an absolute blast of a time conveying the trials and tribulations of twenty-first century lovers with faces, cables, and cords. If memory serves, these guys and gals are taking this show to the Big City {no, not Spokane — New York!} in early 2012, and will be doing a few shows at the Triple Door as a fundraiser to get them all out on the road with a few extra nickels to rub together. Keep an eye out on the internet for details! {a zillion super-fun photos from the Modern Luv shoot} {Mark Siano} {The Triple Door event page}

{Mike Doughty and Laura Musselman / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #2: Mike Doughty :: Technically, the moment we loved so much wasn't just Mike Doughty's set — which was indeed fantastic — but moreso getting to experience the performance and an impromptu photo shoot afterward with one of his biggest fans. We stood right up front at Neumos for an incredibly fun set by openers Moon Hooch, and then proceeded to spend the next hour experiencing the true joy of an MD show via the exuberance of our friend Laura {yep, same one from the road trip at the top of the post}, who's been a Mike Doughty fan since before most people knew who the heck Mike Doughty even was (is). And to top it all off, she extended the bliss of the night by doing a killer mini-shoot with them after the show, both in digital and full photo-nerd Holgaroid format which you can check out on her website here. Truly one for the books. {more photos from the Mike Doughty show} {Laura's main site}

{Cristina Bautista / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite photo #1: Cristina Bautista {Visqueen} :: And all that fandom takes us to our absolute favorite photo of the year, festival or otherwise — this is a particularly rock-out moment from none other than the famed Cristina Bautista, holding the stage captive at the Neptune as part of Visqueen's final show. There's little more we can say about it outside of it being 110% awesome, and the fact that Cristina herself is 110% awesome, and that the final Visqueen show was not only 110% awesome but also sliced through with that hopeful, wonderful melancholy that comes when something so great has drawn to a close — and that we're so thankful the camera was there to capture all of that shining through this fantastically girl-power-y moment. If we could pick one photo to propel our inspirational juju to ride into 2012 on, this is it! {more photos from the final Visqueen show} {more Cristina Bautista}

{Andrea Gibson / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Favorite moment #1: Andrea Gibson :: While it's not exactly easy to grab a flattering photo of a spoken word artist, both due to the nature of the performance and the utter silence in the downbeats, we can use this one in an attempt to convey the utter enchantment that is an evening with Andrea Gibson. She took the stage at the Fremont Abbey at the beginning of December and it was literally one of the most compelling, heartwrenching displays we've ever had the privilege to witness, this year or otherwise — and you know us, we go to a lot of shows. Don't let the "spoken word" / slam poetry vibe poke you in the no-no place: as we said in our preview of the show, if you are going to hitch your wagon to one of the few true artists in this field, Andrea Gibson Is The One. Do yourself a favor and get caught up on all of her existing work, recordings, writings, and mailing list — and be sure to show up early for a front-row seat the next time she's within a few hour drive of your town. Yes, a few hours: she's that good. {more photos from Andrea's performance} {website}

And that, dear imaginary readers, draws these photographic best-of snapshots and moments posts to a close! We hope you have a safe, happy, and utterly righteous new year celebration — we'll be ringing in 2012 in style and putting all the great vibes out there to help us celebrate our tenth year. Can you believe it? We can't hardly wait!

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse.}