Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's

Just a post to wish everyone a Happy New Year. It's been a great 6 months operating the Seattle Powerpop Blog. I've found some great new bands and hopefully given attention to some of them that they might not have otherwise received.

I can only hope to promise more of this in 2007! So, have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, and I'll see you 2007.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

There's a monster in my brain...

.... not literally, but it feels like it. I came down with a wicked head cold on Wednesday night that has completely laid me out! I feel like someone shot me in the sinuses and the bullets are still there. ugh. If my headcold were to take physical form, I think it would look like this (where my sinses are the lady in pink):

So, unfortunately, I missed the big show at the Comet the other night. Anyone go? I'm sure it was stellar, but I'd love a report!

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Stranger's regrets article

The Stranger asks local musician types their regrets of the past year. Folks from Speaker Speaker, Mon Frere, 107.7, Three Imaginary Girls, Shorthand for Epic and other weigh in.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reminder: super big show tonight

As I mentioned earlier in the the week, there is an Unsmashable showcase at The Comet tonight. North Twin, The Riffbrokers, The Doll Test and Young Sportsmen. Just a reminder, as this is a great bill.

Young Sportsmen
photo credit - Dagmar

New West Motels performance video

Just before the New West Motels headed over to England to do some recording, they played a show at the Croc. I just found this video (of their song "Dumb") from that performance (I think...).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Powerpop new year's eve

There are a few shows of interest happening on Dec. 31. So, if you're looking for something to do, consider the following:

The Sunset Tavern - $20
One heck of a powerpop throwdown... featuring:
Llama, Sgt. Major, Paul Lynde Fanclub, The Small Change and more

The Crocodile Cafe - $20 in adv, $25 at the door
Harvey Danger's first annual last show ever
Opening bands: Slender Means, Awesome

Chop Suey - $25 in adv
Jeremy Enigk, Wild Sweet Orange, Walter Meego, and The Ettes

Or, if you're looking for something with more kitch value, Mini Kiss is playing at the Last Supper Club (along with a burlesque troupe and some house DJs) -- $30.

The Doll Test in Top 10 ep's list

Steve at Absolute Powerpop has posted his Top 10 ep's for 2006, and The Doll Test landed at number 10. Congrats guys. If I had my own list of ep's of the year, you'd be even higher.

The Doll Test

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Scenes within scenes

Here's another of my not-fully-formed thoughts:

The Unsmashable show on thursday got me thinking and recognizing that there are groups of bands that are friends of other bands within the powerpop "community" in Seattle (is it a community or multiple smaller communities?). So, which bands are down with which other bands?

There seems to be a pretty strong connection in the Unsmashable neck of the woods -- Young Sportsmen, The Riffbrokers, The Small Change, The Doll Test. All solid bands, and seemingly friends who share band members liberally.

Also somewhat connected, at least by a few members in any given direction, is a gathering (past and present) that includes: The Doll Test, Model Rockets, Paul Lynde Fanclub, The Tripwires, Pure Joy, Sgt. Major, and Llama.

Via Sgt. Major we get into the Kurt Bloch related groups, such as Young Fresh Fellows, Once For Kicks, and The Fastbacks, and Kurt is connected to Scott McCaughey in YFF and The Minus 5, in which he is also connected back to the previous group via John Ramberg in The Tripwires/Model Rockets.

The Minus 5 of course also had members of The Posies along the way. So, we get into the Jon Auer/Mike Musburger line of thinking, and it seems Mike's probably played with all of these folks at some point or another. :)

In a totally different line of folks (maybe??), there's what I perceive as a less-defined connection with The Lashes, Sirens Sister, The Divorce, and The Neons, with maybe The Turn Ons and The Blakes in the mix somewhere. I don't know if there really is a literal connection with these bands in the same way as the Unsmashable folks. But, I generally think of them in the same breath (to mix a metaphor).

And in the next corner, there is a Boss Martians, the Pranks, The Electric Kisses, The Pop Machine and some others. These folks are a little more garage in their approach (save for maybe The Pranks) and driven by the 60s in a similar way as The Ramones or The Muffs were. Again, not exactly sure if there are literal relationships between these bands (other than the Pranks/Boss Martians blood relations), or if I'm just connecting faux journalistic dots.

An obvious collective approch exists with the Tiny Volcano, Vanilla, Liar's Club triumvarate. But, I'm not sure who else might be in that clique.

Anyway, it's almost 5pm and time for me to go home for the day. So, I'll end this pointless ramble of a blog post. But, these connections are pretty interesting to think about. Maybe I'll one day give a shot at one of those relationship diagrams. :)

What are some other sub-communities, or band enclaves with shared members?

Video from Toys For Tots benefit

The folks at Fish The Cat records held a Toys For Tots benefit at Mars Bar and they've posted a number of videos from the show. Here is a clip of the Young Sportsmen's performance. You can find more clips at their myspace page (linked above).

Unsmashable Showcase show 12/28

The Comet Tavern is hosting a cool looking year-end powerpop show on Thursday of this week (12/28). The line up of mostly Unsmashable Records groups is:

Young Sportsmen
The Doll Test
The Riffbrokers
North Twin

Show starts at "2100 hours" according to the flyer... that's 9pm to the rest of us. And, it's an interesting line up, as you can see the line drawn from North Twin's to The Riffbrokers' americana take on powerpop to The Doll Test's straight up powerpop to the Young Sportsmen's more rocking pop. Good variety for the audience, while maintaining conherence. I like it. Count me in.

Tuesday morning mp3

Since Monday was xmas, the mp3 for the week is coming a day late. It's by Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity. The tune is called "instant happiness," from the album by the same name.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown, RIP

While it's not powerpop, nor in Seattle, James Brown died at the age of 73 last night (see CNN article). A man of that stature in music deserves to be recognized and saluted for his contributions. So, while I can't wax poetic on the subject, I do want to acknowledge the debt that all musicians have to him. RIP James Brown.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy holidays


I imgaine there won't be much blogging activity over the next few days (I'll probably snap some photos tonight at The Croc and get them posted, though.). So, I wanted to wish you all happy holidays, merry xmas, and a bevy of other December-holiday-based greetings.

If you're coming to the show tonight, come introduce yourself to me!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Shake Some Action review

I had been struggling with what to do about the Shake Some Action record that is officially being released tomorrow (Saturday, 12/23) at Imaginary Liz's birthday party at the Crocodile. I'm conflicted... literally.

I had nothing to do with the recording of the album. So, from that perspective I can listen to it as an a regular listener and appreciate the fact that it is simply a great powerpop album, and likely one of the best to be released in 2006 (although releasing it a week before New Year's Day doesn't give much opportunity for one to appear on the usual "best of" lists).

At the same time, I play in the live band version of Shake Some Action. So, it's hard for me to be completely objective. Of course, the reason I'm playing in the live band version in the first place is I'm a fan of James' tunes. Songs like "Complicated" and "Someone Else's Friend" and "What You Want Me To Do" just rock my world in a Hoodoo Gurus, The La's, You Am I kind of way.

But, now thanks to Erik Gonzalez, I don't have to worry about writing a review. Why, you ask? Because Erik has written a great review that pretty much summarizes my own feelings on the subject over at the Three Imaginary Girls site.

Proposed nightclub license legislation released

Over on the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association site, they noted that the Washington State Liquor Control Board has released their proposed legislation [the link=pdf of the legislation] on nightclubs.

Quoting from the SNMA:
Potential restrictions/conditions placed on nightclubs. A major concern of this legislation is that any business defined as a nightclub could not allow persons under 21 on their premises, thereby eliminating all-ages shows at places that serve alcohol. It could also prevent restaurants that have live entertainment in the evenings from serving families lunch and dinner. In addition, this bill would allow WSLCB along with local law enforcement to establish conditions on a nightclub’s operations. These conditions would likely include mandatory security requirements and conditions currently identified in many of the city’s good neighbor agreements.

Please contact you legislator and the WSLCB to express you opinion about this legislation. We will need to mount an aggressive campaign to fight this bill. You can find your legislators at Please cc on your emails to your elected officials so that we can have a central place for these correspondence.

Early benefit at El Corazon tonight (12/22)

I got this via email and wanted to pass it along. Note the time. Go support if you can, because it sounds like a tragic situation. More info is available over at the PI.

Sadly, a friend of mine died last week in the Seattle storm. Her name was Kate Fleming. She was a super talented voice-over artist, actress, producer. She passed away attempting to save the gear in her home studio.

She recently hired me to write the soundtrack for an audio book series about troubled teens for Scholastic Inc. called "Twelve". We were both really excited about this project. Kate was one of the most professional people I have ever met in the music business, yet had one of the biggest hearts.

Read more about her here

There is a benefit show to help her family out this Friday Dec 22nd at El Corazon.
If you could come to the show or help PROMOTE it in any way, I'd greatly appreciate it. Here are the details:

EL CORAZON -- All Ages + 21bar with I.D.
-Friday Dec 22nd- 5:00 PM !!Sharp!!
Northwest presents...
(((In memory of Kate Fleming)))

*MEGASAPIEN (Members of Magneto + Vendetta Red/Pris)
...and friends

cost - $7.00
doors at 4:30
peace to you all..

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Absolute Powerpop's Top 100 list

Steve over at the Absolute Powerpop blog has posted his Top 100 powerpop records of the year.

A few Seattle folks are on the list:

The Minus 5 hits first at 57
Central Services checks in at 70
Barcelona at 73
Jon Auer lands at 79

I posted a comment that I can't imagine any Top 100 powerpop list of 2006 that doesn't include The Doll Test's record, which is just great! I would include The Long Winters, as well (although I could see them not being there, since they're not as obviously in the powerpop genre).

Damn you, Capillaries!!

For some reason, the cosmos or allah or sheer coincidence doesn't want me to see the Capillaries anymore. I really like these guys. So, why is that that literally everytime they play, I've got a conflict?

They're playing at the O Lounge (I don't know a thing about this place... anyone been?) on Saturday (12/23). But, I'm simultaneously playing over at The Crocodile at Imaginary Liz's birthday part with Shake Some Action.

So, now you powerpop fans have a decision to make. If you choose The Capillaries, do me a favor and take some pictures and give me a report for the blog. It's what I'd be doing if I were not playing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Pale Pacific performance vid

I just stumbled across this footage of The Pale Pacific performing at WWU. I assume this was the "Racetrack's final show" gig.

This footage comes courtesey of Matt Jones.

Blogger's note: This seems to be another one of those tweaky You Tube videos that never loads. If that's true on your end, you can pop the video open in widows media player via this link.

Random Sterling Loons mp3

Here's a random mid-week mp3 for you from the Sterling Loons. The tune is called "All Aboard," and according to their website is the first song they've recorded for their upcoming album. It's also apparnatly on the latest International Pop Overthrow comp CD.

The Sterling Loons

Seattle is so smart... s, m, r, t.

Seattle was just named the "smartest city" in the country by CNNMoney, with more than half of our residents holding an undergraduate degree (52.7% to be exact).

Therefore, I suppose I should stop blogging and get back to my job, since I'm an academic adviser at UW. Somebody's got to keep cranking out these smart folks, huh? :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Neat 45" vinyl

The guys in The Neat, out of Portland, sent me their newly released 45" (You Are All I Need b/w Sunflower). First and foremost, I give them props for putting out vinyl. In the digital age, that's downright bold, and it takes me back about a decade ago, when I lived in Chapel Hill and bought countless 45's. I'd walk down to Franklin Street on my lunch break from working at UNC and pick up at least one a day.

I have to admit I have no idea who is still putting out vinyl in 2006 (almost 2007!). When I was buying them it was Teenbeat, and Merge, and Matador, and tons of singles labels and so forth. Somebody clue me in... is there still a market for 45's?

I broke open the ol' Motorola stereo (see below) and put the record on. Well, I tried to put the record on. As it turns out, the record they've released has a "big hole" and I didn't have an adaptor. I attempted to place the 45" carefully centered, and dropped the needle into place. But, if you've ever tried this, you know it's impossible to truly get it centered. So, what I heard was wobbly and slightly out of tune.

So, I headed over to their myspace page and they've got the same two songs posted there. I'm quite sad to report that they sound kinda out of tune over there, as well.

I really want to like these guys. I like their songs, and as I said when I reviewed their set at Comet a little while back, they harken back to the 1970s in a very convincing way... it doesn't feel like a put-on at all. But, for now, I'm going to have to call their 45" a neat little entry into the world of commerce, and then hope that they're able to get some assistance on the next round of recordings to work out the kinks. I'll be anxiously awaiting it!

Visqueen performance video

Here's a video of Visqueen performing "Last to Know" live at the Crocodile Cafe.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Lashes fan video

Absolute brilliance. A few choice quotes:

"Once upon a time there was this guy named Jesus, and he was sitting in a bar or tavern or whatever you wanna call it, sippin' on some old fashioned Kool Aid."

"The Lashes are to life what shoes are to women, or sex is for men, or milk is for cereal."

"My divine purpose, or part of my changing the world is to tell you if you're ever feeling sad or lonely, is sip on a little bit of Kool Aid, pop in your favorite Lashes CD and think 'Jesus jams to this.'"

The Long Winters in RS's 100 songs list

I noticed that The Long Winter's "Pushover" is #73 on Rolling Stone's "top 100 songs of 2006" list. Congrats, guys!!

Like many lists from magazines that attempt to cover as much ground as RS does, it's a bit of a farce. But, there are some quality picks, as well. The Raconteurs "Steady As She Goes" landed in the #2 slot (and they come in again at #28), while the Decemberists show up twice (#35 and #53). Other acts of the NW include Pearl Jam at #11 and Band of Horses at #63.

Nelson Sings Nilsson performance video

I meant to scan You Tube for some footage of Sean Nelson's "Nelson sings Nilsson" performance a few weekends ago, but I forgot. Thanks to the Stranger's Lineout blog for reminding me! And thanks to Dreaming Viola for posting the video.

This one focuses on the "A Day in the Life" performance.

There's another video on You Tube that's not been set up to allow for embedding. So, you can go directly to the page to view it. This one is for the tune "maybe."

Performance video from the vault

I found another video from 1980s Seattle band The Eagertones. This one's got a bit more of a Ramones sound to it.

The hairdos, however, seem to be more inline with some eras of The Romantics:

Powerpop xmas gifts

Find yourself wondering what to buy the powerpop fan in your household this Christmas? Here are some ideas.... and if my wife is paying attention, all the better. ;)

Not Lame is running a 12 days of xmas special that is kind of interesting.

The folks at Bomp always have some cool choices, too.

The classic Who bullseye design is always a good choice:

Sometimes the gift of Badfinger is good enough:

Eastwood guitars are all the rage with folks like Matthew Sweet, The Raconteurs, Buzzcocks and The English Beat. I already own one, but really can one ever have too many guitars?

Of course, on the local front, you can never go wrong buying releases from the likes of The Doll Test, Young Sportsmen, Shake Some Action, Sgt. Major, The Long Winters or any of the other nearly 50 Seattle powerpop groups.

I'll keep adding to this post as other things pop into my head.

Shows for week of 12/18

As we approach the xmas holiday, there are fewer rock shows for me to mention. But, here are a few I recommend you check out:

Tuesday, December 19
George Harrison Jam at the Crocodile

Wednesday, December 20
Key Note Speaker, Juhu Beach, and Friday Mile at the Crocodile

Saturday, December 23
Imaginary Liz's birthday party featuring Boat, Shake Some Action and Patience Please at the Crocodile

Monday Morning mp3

Today's Monday' Morning mp3 is from Andy Werth off of the Back To The Sun ep. The tune is called "You're Going To Be a Star" and it's a sparkly track filled with a toe tapping piano and sunny vocals.

It's the perfect foil for a town in which half the folks still don't have electricity. Stay warm out there, people.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Doll Test tonight @ Jules Maes (12/15)

Just a heads up that The Doll Test is playing at the Jules Maes tonight (12/15), they seem to be the first band on the bill, followed by goofy jokesters A Gun That Shoots Knives and quirky rocksters Dope Smoothie.

The Doll Test seems like the odd man out on that bill. But, it's still worth going to see them!

An awkward video interview w/The Neons

A woman in face paint awkwardly interviews Marika from The Neons this past summer at the Folklife Festival. Someone needs to send the 4-H network a list of open ended questions to their interviewers. :)

And just because I love the song so much, I'm going to link "oh so wrong" one more time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Central Services holiday song

Kevin from Central Services sent me their holiday recording this morning. They were giving this away at their show last night with Jon Auer. If you didn't get a chance to go, then you can download it here! It's on their lighter end... but I suppose that makes sense for a holiday song. Actually, now that I listen more, something about it reminds me a bit of Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," were that song to be slower and about the holidays.

Here's the video for that song for your comparison. :)

A fruitless exercise in list making

As all publications, big and small, do their 2006 lists and wrap ups, I'm prompted to think about what an appropriate equivalent would be here on the blog. In fact, this blog is only a half a year old. The first post was on June 22, 2006 at precisely 2:08 pm.

Therefore, it feels a little weird trying to do any kind of typical year-in-review. I decided instead to do a list of another sort -- namely, a list of Seattle powerpop bands. If this blog has done nothing else for me, it's made me even more cognizant of how many great bands are in the area.

The question, as always with a list of this nature, is how do you define who goes on it.. At the heart of that question is determining the definition of "powerpop," and since I've always avoided doing that for the blog, I'm hesitant to start now. This list, and certainly the blog as a whole, gets fuzzy around the edges.

The following randomly-ordered list represents currently functioning bands (for the most part...) in the gretaer Seattle area that I think fit pretty neatly into the powerpop genre. Of course, I have and will continue to talk about bands outside of this list.

I'm confident there are bands missing from the list that should be included. There there were a number of bands that I felt were "on the fence" of fitting my vaguely-defined parameters. Ultimately, some went in (Dept. of Energy) and others didn't (Speaker Speaker). I'd love to argue about the list, so feel free add anyone I missed via the comments link below and give me the "what for" for leaving them off.

With all those disclaimers, hold on to your hat....

The Posies
The Long Winters
The Doll Test
Model Photographer
The Lashes
The Neons
Young Sportsmen
Ghosts & Liars
Tiny Volcano
Brides of Obscurity
The Pranks
99 Men
Dept. of Energy
The Pop Machine
The Action Suits
Henry Boy
The Tripwires
Andy Werth
The Scheme
The Small Change
Boss Martians
The Capillaries
Shake Some Action
Sgt. Major
The Universe
The Pale Pacific
New West Motels
Slender Means
The Riffbrokers
Don't Tell Sophie
The Reluctants
Central Services
Young Fresh Fellows
Jim McIver
The Color Bars
The Lund Bros.
Once For Kicks
The Sterling Loons

Sirens Sister video

That last post ended up leading me to Sirens Sister's video for their song "hold on" over on You Tube. So, I thought I'd go ahead and post that, as well.

Sirens Sister commercial

I had never been to the revver website before this morning. I happened to see a revver video embedded in another blog and decided to see what I could find. So far, I've not found a lot of things related to the focus of this blog (I'll keep digging).

However, I did find this commercial for Sirens Sister. The ad apparantely appeared on something called ITV.

Blogger note: I've taken out the embed, becuase it was too wide and was messing the format of the blog. But, the commercial can be viewed here.

The Stranger on Shorthand for Epic

There's a piece on Shorthand for Epic over at The Stranger (and I assume in the print version this week, as well).

It's a "getting to know you" piece that thin on discussion of their music -- save for the one-line description of "their the-Jam-playing-Arcade-Fire-songs-produced-by-Phil Spector sound" and Billy's assertion that their song structures share some commonalities with Foreigner. But, it's good to see them getting more press, even if they take the opportunity to make some un-PC comments about "retards love them some Huey [Lewis]." .... you'll just have to read the article for context on that one. :)

You can catch them at the show that I am dubbing "the young guns of Seattle indie rock" show at the Paradox this Saturday with Boat, Speaker Speaker, Ghosts & Liars, and Patience Please. This is the last show at the Paradox before that venue makes changes the ladies of Make Believe go off and do their own thing in the realm of show booking and promotion.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Central Services & Jon Auer tonight (12/13)

There's a cool show tonight at The Crocodile. Central Services will be giving away free discs with a holiday song on it. This is Jon's only local show before heading back overseas early in the new year.

New-ish indie rockers Collapsichord open the night. I like what I'm hearing on their myspace page. They remind me of a few different bands operating in superchunk-influenced scene of the mid-1990s Chapel Hill. In a good way.

Minus 5 performance video

Here's the Minus 5 from an older (2001) performance at the Knitting Factory in LA.

TIG article in Seattle Weekly

As someone who tries to keep up with what's going on around town, you would think I'd read every possible source of music info in town. But, I have to admit I don't read the Seattle Weekly as often as I probably should.

So, perhaps it's comes as no surprise that I didn't see the interview they ran with Three Imaginary Girls last week. It's a nice "getting to know you" kind of piece. I just thought I'd link it here, in case others have the same affliction I have in which you unintentionally don't read Seattle Weekly. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Martian Memo To God seeks bassist

I just stumbled across this post on craigslist:

Seattle-based band Martian Memo To God is looking for a new bass player. We have highly experienced management and an indie label deal pending. Influences include: The Smiths, The Ramones, Nada Surf, The Strokes, The Psychedelic Furs. Check us out

Contact, [edited so as to not have his phone number on the blog], if you're serious and 100% available.

Death Cab grammy nom

Blogger warning: What follows is a disorganized stream of thought.

You've probably heard by now that Death Cab For Cutie snagged a grammy nomiation for "Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal." Their competitors in the category are a motley crew of artists... the nominees are:

My Humps, Black Eyed Peas
I Will Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie
Over My Head (Cable Car), the Fray
Is It Any Wonder?, Keane
Stickwitu, Pussycat Dolls

On one hand, I suppose it's encouraging that three of the five nominees (DCFC, The Fray and Keane) are not prefab, disposable pop groups. On the other hand, anyone want to place bets against either Black Eyed Peas or Pussycat Dolls? The Peas are a group that I can occasionally appreciate, and they've done a few songs that I've genuinely enjoyed when I come across them on the radio dial. But, seriously, my humps is definately among the worst songs written in the past decade. And don't get me started on the Pussycat Dolls... But, in this race, my money is on one of the two.

Anyway, complaining about the Grammys is like shooting fish in a barrel. So, I won't bore you with more there. Rather, I want to comment on the interesting shift that DCFC has experienced. Namely, last year they were in the "alternative album" category and this year it's the "pop song" category. I suppose that's reflective of their success with the Plans album and a lucrative 2006 in general. But, it's interesting to look at the 2007 alternative album nominees:

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Arctic Monkeys
At War With the Mystics, the Flaming Lips
St. Elsewhere, Gnarls Barkley
Show Your Bones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Eraser, Thom Yorke

Perhaps it's perspective. But, one might argue DCFC still belongs here moreso than the pop song category. Now, I know the latter is recognizing songs and the former is recognizing albums, and I know that Plans was already a 2006 alternative album nominee. It's all still kind of facinating to watch.

I suppose the nomination itself is an award, of sorts, as it seems to recognize a certain plateu of success has been reached. So, in the end, a hearty congrats to DCFC on their nomination. I'll be pulling for you on the inside, while recognizing that fergie's humps may just be insurmountable, if you know what I mean.

Jon Auer music video

Jon Auer just released a video for his song "Angelita" from the Songs From the Year of Our Demise album. The video is essentially stick figure drawings and doodles done by Jon's wife Michelle. But, it does a really cute job of telling a story.

Jon is playing on Wednesday at the Crocodile (with Central Services)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Alex Rose/Model Photographer mp3

As I mentioned earlier, there's a cool show tomorrow (Tuesday) at Chop Suey featuring Dressy Bessy and Model Photographer. The latter is a Seattle band vis-a-vis Albuquerque, NM expat Alex Rose, who moved here in 2004.

While I do not know whether or not this can be song can be attributed to Model Photographer or directly to Alex himself (who also plays with Heather Duby and is the touring keyboardist for Minus The Bear), I absolutely love "Before You Drive Away."

Dept of Energy performance vid

Here's Dept. of Energy performing their song "One Last Wish For Claire Grogan" on a program called Audio/Visible -- Anyone know what this show is? I couldn't find anything on the web.

Speaker Speaker performance vid

Sounding more punk than pop in this clip, here's Speaker Speaker appearing on Shorewood High School's television show.

Shows for week of 12/11

Here are some cool pop shows for this week.

Monday, 12/11
Jonathan Richman at the Tractor Tavern

Tuesday, 12/12
Dressy Bessy, Bedroom Walls, and Model Photographer at Chop Suey

Wednesday, 12/13
Central Services, Jon Auer, Collapsichord at the Crocodile

Thursday, 12/14
Northwest Harvest benefit featuring The Lashes, Romance, The Girls and The Prids at the Funhouse

Friday, 12/15
Lund Bros, Bre Loughlin, Aaron Samuels and Ian Jones at the Skylark Cafe

Saturday, 12/16
Speaker Speaker, Boat, Shorthand for Epic, Patience Please and Ghosts & Liars at the last Paradox show ever. A veritable whose who of young hip rock peeps.

The Clash's London Calling cover night at The Sunset Tavern, which features another veritable whose who of other young hip rock peeps!! Bands and members from bands including Sgt. Major, The Tripwires, The Small Change, Llama, The Cops, and many more.

Monday Morning mp3

On this dreary Monday morning, I needed to put some bounce in my step and some snap in my stride. Thus, this number from Don't Tell Sophie from down Tacoma way is the Monday Morning mp3 for the week.

The tune is titled "On My Side." Enjoy and stay dry and out of the wind today!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

SHIM & Young Sportsmen photos

I took in the SHIM/Young Sportsmen/Ruby Doe show at the High Dive last night and snapped some photos.

SHIM was up first, and it was their CD release show. What can I say about these guys. First, they are a 100% irony free arena rock band stuck in a club-sized body. Replete with smoke machines, big stage lights and more rock than the High Dive is perhaps used to, they opened the night and set the bar high.

They're one of those groups that, if they get seen by people with power in the music industry, could follow in the footsteps of someone like Jet. That's not to say they're as obviously derivative as Jet. But, I could see that kind of a career arc.

At various time in their set, SHIM's music reminded me of Thin Lizzy, Queens of the Stone Age, KISS and, at one point, Audioslave. But, in truth, I enjoyed them way more than those touchpoints might normally suggest.



Young Sportsmen are a band that on most nights are among the most rocking bands on a given bill. But, tonight they had the daunting task of following the SHIM onslaught. Of course, it's not exactly comparing apples to apples in that Young Sportsmen are way more concerned with melody than SHIM. But on a micro-level, it was a bit like KISS opening for Cheap Trick - you could love both bands, but it's clear which has the bigger stage show. Anyway, as always, they put on a great set with good tunes and a solid performance. That's one thing you can say about Young Sportsmen -- they are reliable as a swiss watch when it comes to the rock.

Young Sportsmen

Friday, December 08, 2006

BOAT auctions a song on eBay

A truly quirky auction from Seattle's favorite quirky popsters, BOAT. Seattle bands Harvey Danger and Awesome have one of these auctions, as well.

The backstory here is you can bid for the band to do a cover of any song of your choice. If you win the auction, they'll record it for you. The whole thing is part of The Stranger's "Strangercrombie" holiday fundraising efforts.

It very well may be worth your cash to hear BOAT doing the world's longest pop song or Harvey Danger doing something by Philip Glass just to mess with them. Or perhaps you have a sentimental favorite you'd like to have them do.

But, either way, the real gift is that the money that is going to Northwest Harvest.

Video interview w/John Roderick (Long Winters)

Here's a pretty random interview with John Roderick of the Long Winters for something called "The DL" (which seems to be something for aol's music site).

And speaking of random, here's a 35 second video of the Long Winters sitting in a restaurant while a camera rotates around the middle of the table.

Nelson Sings Nilsson tonight (12/8)

About five years ago, during a Harvey Danger hiatus, Sean Nelson developed a Harry Nilsson fetish via the "Nilsson Sings Newman" record. He had an idea to do an album of Nilsson tunes, and quite naturally this became "Nelson Sings Nilsson." But, Sean worked on the project for years before it finally got legs.

From the project's myspage page:

In 2006, from the depths of despair, Nelson asked producer/arranger/composer/mentalist Mark Nichols if he might be interested in taking the project on. According to reports, Nichols literally leapt at the opportunity. A couple of months later, an album of 14 Nilsson songs--some hits, some deep cuts, some unreleased gems--plus an 8-minute medley (very much in the style of the Beatles pastiche from Harry's debut LP) was born. Elaborately arranged with strings, brass, guitar, bass, drums, and a kids choir, the album weaves a rich, theatrical musical tapestry to wrap around Nelson's full-throated vocal stylings. With influences ranging from rock to Vauedville, from music hall to Broadway, from Tin Pan Alley to Erik Satie, "Nelson Sings Nilsson" offers an idiosyncratic showcase for one of the late-20th century's most idiosyncratic composer/arrangers.

So, why am I posting this? The record isn't out yet. But, tonight (12/8), you can see this project in a live setting at Town Hall with a 24-piece orchestra. $12 at the door.

Nada Mucho show at Mars Bar tonight (12/8)

I got some more info via a myspace bulletin about the mega show happening at the Mars Bar tonight. It's a Toys For Tots benefit and is hosted by Nada Mucho.

Nada was fortunate to be invited to help out with Fish the Cat Record's 6th Annual Toys for Tots benefit at the Mars Bar on Friday night. This is an all-star event for a good cause, so come on down with a new toy.

December 8 – Mars Bar
6th Annual Benefit for Toys for Tots
Fish the Cat Records and Present an Evening of Holiday Performances by:

Young Sportsmen
Bre Loughlin
Department of Energy
The Graze
Daniel G. Harmann
Brent Amaker & the Rodeo

9 p.m. sharp. $7 or $5 w/new toy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The enigma that is The Pop Machine

Back in September this myspace page popped onto my radar that was intruiging. It was by a band called The Pop Machine. I remember looking at the site, reading the text and thinking "wow, now that's quite a starting point." Indeed, I posted the first comment on their site that said, "I can't wait to hear the music. The lead up certainly has set the bar quite high!"

So, it is with some interest (and some disappointment) that I learned that they are performing their first show *tonight* (12/7) at the Fun House with The Pharmacy and the Clorox Girls (portland). Why disappointment? Because I just found out about it and can't attend.

Of course, I've still yet to hear a single note of their music. So, I have no idea what they really sound like. But, their site says they're a "buncha CA-RAZY young and good looking kids!!!" playing music that sounds "in a nutshell.. A punk rock Shangri-La's/Archies." And who wouldn't like that, I ask you?

Therefore, if you find yourself at the Funhouse tonight, I'd love a report. Heck I'd even take a report from the band themselves. So, let me know how it goes and give me some music, darn it!

The Turn-Ons @ Jules Maes tonight (12/7)

The Turn-Ons and The Levitations are rocking down at the Jules Maes tonight (Thursday, December 7).

It's about a week late for any clever references. But, here's an mp3 for The Turn-Ons' song "Strange As Snow".

I can't find any mp3s of The Levitations, but the songs on their myspace page seem pretty awesome -- a cool mix of 60s British pop and Americana mixed together in a set of semi-lo-fi recordings.

TIG's best of 2006

Everyone's friends over at Three Imaginary Girls are doing a poll of their readers on the best Northwest releases of 2006. You can head over there to vote. You've got until xmas to get your vote in,

Here's my ballot (in no particular order), submitted moments ago:

The Doll Test - Gasoline and Banks
Racetrack - Go Ahead and Say It (which I still plan to review soon!)
Central Services - We're All Smarter Now
Jon Auer - Songs From the Year of Our Demise
The Long Winters - Putting The Days to Bed

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Blakes cd review

The guys from The Blakes were nice enough to send me a copy of their new cd, which as best as I can tell is self-released and self-titled and available via their myspace page

The first thing that pops into my mind when I scroll through the tracks is there is a fair amount of diversity of the sounds available to the listener. Indeed, it initially feels like you could put a few of these cuts on a compilation and folks would assume they're by different bands.

There's a ragged, gut-bustin' side of them (tracks like "modern man" and the opener, "two times"). There's a slightly pulled back garage-pop side ("lie next to me" and "commit") and then there's a where the hell did that come from side (the synth poppy "lintwalk").

Take a dash of Jet, a bit of The Strokes, a smidge of White Stripes, some of the Kinks' noisy side, and possibly some unknown young rocker sitting at home wailing on his guitar in his bedroom listening to Little Steven's Underground Garage at 1am on a Sunday night and you've got something in the ballpark of The Blakes.

Overall I can see how I would like these guys a bit more in a live setting, where they would likely bring some raw, energetic guitar assault into my world. In spite of my initial assessment of the diversity of sounds on the disc, by the end of the listening the limited melody range and common instrument tones lead to a bit of same-ness. That said, there are some perfect songs here to put on your mp3 player for rocking out in shuffle mode.

Shim interview & show

Seattle rock band SHIM is playing this Saturday with The Ruby Doe and Young Sportsmen at The High Dive. These guys bring the rock and I highly encourage you to check out the two demo songs they have on their myspace page. Really good stuff.

I sent some questions to SHIM and got responses from Ragan Crowe, vocalist of the group.

1. How do you think others would describe Shim, and is that the same or different than you'd like to think of yourselves?

Totally awesome. That's how I think others would describe us. And since I think we're totally awesome too, everything fits together nicely. Actually though, a while back I heard someone call us a "glorified AC/DC cover band," which was supposed to be an insult. Please.

2. Who are your favorite Seattle bands and why?

Iceage Cobra, Slender Means, The Ruby Doe. Those guys are all at the top for me. I like the Cobra because they're just so fuckin' fun to watch. They have the wackiest charisma. And they're just genuine dudes, musically and personally. I like Slender Means because they write great tunes. All the parts are in place in their songs. I love that guy's voice. I love all the guitar work, the keys, the drums. It's all there. I love the Doe ‘cause they're just rock monsters. The chemistry between those dudes on stage is so palpable. They function as one unit, the way a rock band should. Aaron and Jesse are from Wenatchee, where Mike, Jer and I grew up. The band Mike and I had in high school, The Scary Spiders, used to play with their band, The Cat Ion. I've been a fan of those guys for a long time. They're just always so fuckin' tight.

3. What are your feelings about the state of rock music in the Northwest and Seattle in particular?

That's a good question. I've never lived anywhere else, so this scene is all I really know. But I like the NW and I like Seattle. There're some bad-ass bands here (see previous question) and there are places to play. What more do you need?

4. If you could be the opening act for any band, any time period, who would that be and why?

That's a tough one. I'm a total classic-rocker. To the bone. [blogger note: I, too, am a closet classic rocker... my radio is straight up tuned to 95.7] There're a lot of bands I just wish I could have seen at all. One that comes to mind is Boston, when they were touring off their self-titled album. I've always wanted to know if they could pull off all those harmonies live, and I can't seem to find any good bootlegs of them. Plus Tom Scholz is awesome. But I'd probably rather tour with Zeppelin, sometime after "III" came out. They're just so fucking awesome live. It's ridiculous. And I'd kill to hear "Immigrant Song" live back then. Either that or The Doors. On the "Morrison Hotel" tour. Those guys are something else. It's just the spookiest, vibe-y-est most strange and awesome music. And Morrison was the real deal. The stuff most frontmen try to fake, he had it comin' out his ears. I mean, I think. I wasn't alive yet. Or Floyd, on the "Wish You Were Here" tour. I can listen to that record all day. And I'd really like to meet Roger Waters.

5. What's the latest news from you guys and what's on the horizon?

I wish I knew. We're writing some really strong material these days and the groove gets meatier every single night. Hopefully it gets us somewhere.

6. I used to have a friend whose motto was "it's not a rock show until someone falls down." Did anyone in the band fall and bust their ass in the snow last week? If not, when is the last time you fell down?

You know, I haven't fallen down in a long time. I slipped on Jer's (our drummer and my brother’s) icy stairs last winter, but I kind of surfed down them and stayed on my feet. It was pretty skilled.

7. What's something people don't know about Shim?

Who we are and what we sound like.

8. Asking about influences is kind of weak, but I'm curious what informs you guys. I hear different history in the older recordings than the demo tunes on myspace. What's been your evolution of sound?

Well, like I said, I'm a total classic-rocker. Not just riffy rock either. I'm just as likely to put on some Joni Mitchell as I am some Thin Lizzy. I'm just really drawn towards ‘60s and ‘70s music, probably to a fault. It's just so personal and imperfect. The recordings, the performances, it's all just really human. I hate all the computerized performances on modern records. I feel like a lot of modern bands are about 10% music and 90% advertising. And that is not fucking right. It's this weird manipulative, sentimental bullshit that has nothing to do with rock and roll, if you ask me, which you did. Sort of. I'm getting tangent-y aren't I.

As far as SHIM goes, we've just been trying to hone in on what it is that makes a good song and, more specifically for us right now, a good live show. So that's lead to some changes. We've grown a lot in confidence. And confidence lets you write the kind of song you want to write, without worrying about boundaries and stupid things. And for us, it means kind of walking a line. We embrace our love of classic-rock, but we don't want to be a parody or a rip off, and we're not. But it's definitely a challenge. You don't want to be merely a throw-back band, but you wanna play the music that moves you. I guess it all comes down to whether you're genuine or not. If you're genuine, people know it when they see you play, and they like it. If you're faking it, they know that too, and you'll be very forgettable.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What happened to Skinny Productions?

Pretty random question. But, I was just clicking around the web and looking at some of my older bookmarks. When I went to what used to be the Skinny Productions website, I found the tell tale signs of an abandoned URL. So, I thought perhaps they had gone myspace-only or something. But, that's dead, as well.

Anyone know the story?

Now Matt Southworth is on Radio 8 Ball

It was supposed to be last week. But, apparantly the freakish ice and snow storm kept it from going down. So, tonight on KAOS out of Olympia, Matt Southworth of The Capillaries will be appearing on Radio 8 Ball from 6pm until 8pm.

You can listen live on the web, as well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Early Seattle Powerpop - The Eagertones

The Eagertones were around Seattle for much of the 1980s (with different musicans and configurations), and I just came across this video of them performing a tune called "Ramona" which was broadcast by King 5.

Shows for week of 12/4

I can't freaking believe it's December already. This year has flown by! Regardless, here are some cool shows for the week of December 4.

Tuesday, 12/5
New West Motels are at the Croc, and they're filming the performance for a dvd that will be included with their new record, due out in 2007. So, head on down and enjoy the show... and try to avoid being the idiot that yells "freebird" inbetween songs just so you can be on their dvd. :)

Wednesday, 12/6
The Crocodile is hosting a rather odd themed night -- Disney Cover Night. So, if you've ever been at a rock show and thought, "you know, I sure would like to hear this band cover 'it's a small world afterall'," Wednesday could be your lucky night. Bands include The Pale Pacific, Pris, The Catch and others.

If you're more into large venue shows, The All-American Rejects are at the WaMu Theater, which I have to admit I have no idea where that is!

Thursday, 12/7
Speaking of large shows, the annual Deck The Hall Ball is at Key Arena on Thursday. Bands include The Shins, Snow Patrol, Pete Yorn, Taking Back Sunday and Gnarls Barkley.

Looking for something more intimate? Try Shorthand For Epic, The Bug Nasties and The Hot Rollers at The High Dive.

Friday, 12/8
There's a big Three Imaginary Girls karaoke night at The Crocodile.

But, you can also see The Snakebites, Sgt. Major (see this week's Monday Morning mp3), and The Hacks at The Jules Maes.

Saturday, 12/9
Death Cab for Cutie and Ted Leo are at Key Area, which still blows my mind!

But also on this night, the Mars Bar is hosting some crazy bill that has a ton of quality musicians on it. Don't ask me how it's going to work, because they have to end music at midnight at the Mars Bar. But, somehow the following folks are playing: Robb Benson, Bre Laughlin, The Graze, Levi Fuller, Ryan & Wesley {Young Sportsmen}, Lesli Wood, Dustin Lanker, and Dept. Of Energy

Monday Morning mp3

For his heroic efforts in rescuing the smashed telecaster of The Small Change back on Friday (see previous post), today's Monday Morning mp3 is "A Battleship Called Greed" by Kurt Bloch's group Sgt. Major.

They've got a show at the Jules Maes on December 8 (this friday!).

Sgt. Major

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jon Auer performance clip

I'm going to try to post this again... it didn't work earlier.

Here's a performance of the Big Star tune "thirteen" by Jon Auer, taken just a few days ago (Dec. 1) in London from youtube user, Gordo73.

And if it never loads (which seems to be a problem...), you can see it here instead.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Peter Parker performance video

Small Change & Shake Some Action photos

I was at the Jules Maes last night for the Four Colour Process, Shake Some Action, The Small Change gig... which is not surprising since I play in Shake Some Action. But, I snapped some photos while there.

First up was the Four Colour Process. These guys have a very radio-friendly "modern rock" sound that wouldn't sound out of place in a rotation between Maroon 5 and The Fray. They're good at what they do -- solid playing, good vocals -- but it really wasn't for me. A tad too slick and commercial for my own tastes.

The Four Colour Process

Shake Some Action took the stage next. I snapped this photo of James while he was setting up.

Shake Some Action

Ending the night was the always-energetic The Small Change. Although there was very little in the way of a crowd, they still turned it on, full blast. Indeed, Greg actually smashed his guitar about 4 songs in. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough on the photo trigger to capture that moment.

After playing a handful of songs sans guitar (at which point they really *did* sound like Costello's "Get Happy" album, which was just fine by me!), local hero Kurt Bloch took Greg's smashed tele, laid it onto the pool table, go the doorman to get some tools, and got it back in working order. Well done, sir!

The Small Change pre guitar smashery

The Small Change with six fewer strings

The Small Change - Kurt to the rescue

Friday, December 01, 2006

Yay for the weekend!

With all the snow and ice, it's been one crazy week! I plan on snapping photos tonight at The Small Change/Shake Some Action/Four Colour Process show (at the Jules Maes) and tomorrow at the Studio 66 show (Lo-Fi Gallery). So, look for them over the weekend.

If any bands have news or info to share, just shoot me a message via email or myspace.