Three Imaginary Girls

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

Exile in Girlville

I can hardly believe it is only 10 days until Exile in {Imaginary} Girlville.

We've been counting down until the magical day of TIG's 6th birthday blowout and tribute to the 15th anniversary of Liz Phair's amazing debut album Exile in Guyville in our imaginary heads for quite a while – but now let's make it official.

9 of our favorite northwest bands agreed to play and two have brand new records out now: Tennis Pro and Lucy Bland. Plus, we've reviewed them both here.

My friend Chris Estey said of Lucy Bland's Down to Sea Level:

Lucy Bland is… a band, fronted by Cat Biell, who sings and plays acoustic guitar, though a big part of the band's sound is Todd Wallar's "electronica." The marriage of Biell's mellifluous voice with the playful atmosphere of Wallar's programming creates a beautiful soundtrack to Lucy Bland's themes of sensuality in relationships, whether it be swimming lightly through social waves or complete submersion into the lives of others.

Though the most obvious strengths are Biell's alternately opaque and revealing lyrics, sung in a relaxed, pleasuring style, and the synthetic flow from Wallar's sonic oscillations and occasional electric guitar, this album also features some deliciously restrained strings from Kate Mosehauer (violin) and Anil Seth (cello), as well as accordion and keyboards and trombone from Tim Stedman. Also along are Katherine Wasberg on bassoon and Andrea Smarmdom on clarinet. Each instrument everyone plays sounds effortlessly appealing within the sound of the songs, but that doesn't mean it is ever boring.

Of Tennis Pro's Are You There God? It's Me Tennis Pro, Chris (again, who is obviously both brilliant and prolific) wrote:

It's a softer, sadder — though still pleasantly peculiar — opening to an album that combines the caustic wit of the Violent Femmes with the intricate power pop of a Fountains of Wayne and the ultimate waver bliss of late 80s Posies. The two-note horn-driven bash and snap of "ASVAB" hard-steps a soul shuffle in the next song, introducing the trumpet and flugelhorn of Robert Parker and the French horn of Jacob Hoffman. "College Math" by co-singer and bass player Phil Peterson is a roller-coaster ride of candy cotton-melodic vocals indicting those who try to turn rock music into higher aesthetics. "It's not an art/It's rock and roll." But the composition is both frisky and compelling enough to challenge such an assertion. (The noisy piano bridge with its guitar blasts has the coolest mockeries of a professor's voice since "They blinded me with science!")

There's a ton more humor and hot playing in this homemade album than Weezer has released in at least three long-players (were CDs "longer-players"?). It makes me want to be a fucked up good kid, a subversive who actually reads a lot of books but does things like dresses up like a cop in riot gear for the "Battle of Seattle" movie premiere.

Which I could see these three guys doing.

Catch Lucy Bland and Tennis Pro amongst your (and our) Northwest favorites at Exile in {Imaginary} Girlville at Chop Suey on Wednesday, June 25. Doors at 8pm, 21+, $8 adv. through Ticketweb.