Monday, July 31, 2006

Video from the Vault - Harvey Danger

Here's Harvey Danger's "Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo" from 2000. Their new record is being released this week, with the CD release party taking place at Neumo's on Friday, 8/4. Have a quick look back before moving into the future.

Shows for week of 7/31

Monday, 7/29
Kelley Stoltz (fresh off their opening slot with The Raconteurs last week) at the Sunset Tavern

Tuesday, 8/1
Spook the Horse at the Crocodile

Wednesday, 8/2
Mon Frere at El Corazon

Thursday, 8/3
The Glasses at Sunset Tavern

Saturday, 8/5
Three Imaginary Girls presents Tullycraft, Boat, Voxy and The Salteens at Sunset Tavern.

Song of the weekend (7/29)

While I personally spent the majority of my weekend ripping up carpet and prepping our downstairs for new laminate flooring (ask me about my flood!), I did spend a little while online, and during that short stay on the web I refreshed my love for "Dumbed Down" by the New West Motels.

It's a lush, aching song about being so love that you let the other person treat you like dirt and then they dump you anyway. And I'm sure we've all been there at one time or another.

You can catch them live at the Croc on August 12.

On an related note: Why do so many bands set up their myspace pages to not allow you to add their songs to your profile? I had planned on always making the "song of the weekend" be the song that loads on the SPB myspage page. But, the last three have their songs set up to refuse adds. Curious...

KEXP situation is messy

While it ain't powerpop related, specifically. The whole KEXP-fired-DJ situation is just plain messy and worth mentioning.

Friday, July 28, 2006

PDX Pop Now -- getting my head out of the sand

There's such a solid scene in Seattle that it happens sometimes (okay often) that I have little feel for what's happening in other NW cities. But, this weekend marks the third year in a row that the folks down in Portland have had themselves a pop festival, called PDX Pop Now.

The bands are varied and include Stars of Track and Field, Viva Voce, The Upsidedown, The Conductor, Parenthetical Girls, and lot more.

The Raconteurs @ the Moore

I got a call from my friend David yesterday, informing me that he had an extra ticket to see the Raconteurs (see the recent piece in The Stranger) last night at The Moore. So, I took him up on the offer and went down to the big rock show.

We arrived a little more than two-thirds of the way through the opening act's set. Kelley Stolz is the name, and I've got to admit I know zero about them/him (I don't even know if it's a band or a solo person and hired guns). But, he/they have five releases under his/their belt, according to the website. My experience seeing the group perform was much like the first time I saw Jonathan Richman -- like everyone else was in on a private joke. Perhaps it was simply because I arrived late, but the main guy ("Kelley" perhaps) kept doing this thing in between their songs where he would sing in a loungey voice about various things happening in the room. People were laughing like it was a comedy routine. But, I didn't get the joke.

When they played songs, I really enjoyed their sound. The tunes were super short, but creatively arranged and catchy.

Then after a brief pause for set change-over, The Raconteurs took the stage. Now, I have heard their single "Steady As She Goes" a million times over, and I've been exposed to the rest of the record to varying degrees. But, I wasn't prepared for the full-on 1970s arena rock onslaught of their set. I don't want to make a direct comparison here, because that'd be ludicrous, but the bombast of the first few songs make me think of KISS concerts from the 1970s. Sure, there wasn't the circus of blood, 10 inch tongues and firebombs. But, the sound was pure arena rock.

And I don't mean that in a bad way. It's been a long time since my senses were truly "rocked" in that way -- and heck, only five rows of seats were between me and the back wall of the second balcony (where you are essentially looking down onto the top of the band's head). So, good on them for rocking out!

That said, I'm really more of a song guy, and they lost me a few times with the extended guitar jams. I turned to my friend David at one point and said in my best stoner voice, "I think they're going to do Dark Star tonight."

But, they never did (thankfully). They stuck to the rock, and you can tell it's a band that is comfortable with one another on stage. [Sidenote: When did Jack White become a big ol' rock star? I've apparantly been spending too much time in smaller clubs, because it was a little weird to see how the audience responded to him.] Brendan Benson is the perfect pop foil for Jack White's guitar histrionics, and their voices blend well when they're both singing.

After the rote encore of "Steady As She Goes" we hit the door and I was at home, in bed by 11:30pm. And, in the end, that's exactly how I'd want to see The Raconteurs... get in, get out, get home and get to bed early. Maximimized experienced acheived.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

IPO gets some press

This just came down the wire (and by "down the wire" I mean my friend Chris emailed me about it...).

A Reuters news piece on the International Pop Overthrow. It's an overview article, but it does mention that the IPO is in Seattle and Vancouver for the first time this year.

I'll be doing a variety of pieces that are IPO related in the near future, since we're only about a month out from the Seattle dates (Aug. 24-27).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Harvey Danger/Long Winters at TIG

There is a fun segment over on Three Imaginary Girls in which John from The Long Winters and Sean from Harvey Danger interview one another.

Both bands have releases out this week.

Some By Sea call it quits

Tacoma indiepoppers Some By Sea are packing it in. Their final Seattle show will be tonight (7/26) at The Paradox (with Say Hi To Your Mom and Dirty on Purpose).

It's a shame they're splitting up, since their recently release on SideCho records is a solid, catchy gathering of tunes. You can get a taste of them on their myspace page.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Early Seattle Powerpop - X-15

Formed in Bellingham in 1979, X-15 would've fit right into the 1970s New York punk rock scene where you could be a Television or a Blondie or a Talking Heads and still fit in. But, they were out here in the Pacific Northwest, where they became one of the areas biggest draws in the early 1980s and were a common opening act for national acts -- Missing Persons, Iggy Pop, and The Clash included.

Songs like "no regard" reflect their energy and warbled vocals while still providing a catchy hook. You can still purchase their music through cdbaby, and although I haven't seen it with my own eyes, there is supposedly an X-15 section at EMP.

Click to enlarge

Visqueen video - Crush on Radio

Seattle shows for week of 7/24

Holy crap, there are lots of shows in Seattle worth mentioning this week!

Monday, 7/24
The Rentals at Neumos

Tuesday, 7/25
Grant Lee Phillips at the Crocodile
The Low Haunts at the High Dive

Thursday, 7/27
The Raconteurs at the Moore Theater
Tara Jane O'Neil at the Sunset Tavern

Friday, 7/28
Capitol Hill Block Party

Saturday, 7/29
Capitol Hill Block Party
The Buzzcocks at El Corazon

Song of the weekend (7/22)

This past weekend found me repeatedly rockin' out to Once For Kicks and their song "oh hurry." With traces of Ric Ocasek-era Guided By Voices, the tune churns along and drives itself into your memory banks.

I'm not sure why these guys don't rule the city, frankly.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Long Winters releases CD in hell....

... okay so it wasn't in hell. But, it sure was uncomfortably hot!

I started to write a blog post about how the whole night was uncomfortable for me -- the heat, the couple in their 40s making out in front of me for like an hour as if they were 14, the girl who was dancing a little too close to my bar stool without realizing she was giving me a lap dance -- but then I figured I'd be wasting your time.

So, instead, let's talk about the music. The Lake Society opened the show. I've got to admit they confused me a little. I could tell that somewhere in there, there was a straight ahead rock band lurking. But, that straight ahead rock band seemed to be hidden beneath a bevy of odd time signatures and quirky choruses. At one point I thought to myself, this is what it would sound like if the Minutemen were jamming with the J. Geils Band. It was a solid set. But, I'm not sure the two sides fully gelled, and I kept expecting one or the other to take over.

Up next was Tim Seely, which is a band that also happens to be the name of the main guy in the band. And what a delightfully odd mix of instruments and genres at play here! The group is made up of guitar, drums, a multi-instrumentalist on pedal steel, mandolin, and guitar, and a keyboardist who provided most of the bass frequencies on a microkorg -- and I'm pretty sure there were some backing tracks with drum loops, violins and vocals flying around, too. It was like indie rock and alt-country smashed together, and something (although i can't pinpoint exactly what) makes me think they could be big with the "jam band" crowd. But, it was a wholly enjoyable set.

By the time the Long Winters got on stage, fatigue had set in, which is a shame, because I like these guys a lot. Unfortunately, I only made it about 5 songs into their performance before having to flee for cooler climates and fresher oxygen. But, the 5 songs that I was able to experience did not disappoint. It was obviously their night and the had-to-be-capacity crowd roared in approval when they took the stage and, especially, when they played "pushover."

Since this was the Long Winters CD release, they pulled heavily from that track listing (see my previous post for the online sampling of the new record). Run out a buy a copy on Tuesday!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

NW powerpop at

Portland's Throwback Suburbia just reached number four on the current powerpop chart over at Also cracking the top 20 is Seattle's Regan Lane.

Perhaps most impressive of all, Tacoma's 99 Men is number four on the all time powerpop chart with their song "Big Party." Finally, Portland's Hemmit is also on the all time chart, coming in at number 15 with "what you see is what you get."

Well done and congrats all around, folks.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Smoosh on The Early Show

Let me admit my bias that I am 100% in favor of teenagers starting bands and writing catchy pop tunes. So, that fact that these two early-teens not only do just that but have released recordings and played shows with major bands tickles me to no end.

I'm sure that at least some of the attention Smoosh gets can be attributed to the novelty factor. But, you can't argue with the unadulterated joy they radiate.

CBS's "early show" did a piece on them about a week ago.

Death Cab meets Elvis Costello

I don't know that I've ever uttered the following phrase, but it's true today:

"Damn, I wish I had VH1 Classic."

Why? Well, this evening they're running an Elvis Costello tribute as part of the Decades Rock Live series.

And what's the local connection? Well, Death Cab for Cutie is all over the place! A brief sample clip of their take on "kinder murder" is available online. There is also a clip of them backing Declan himself on "accidents will happen." A few of the Death Cab guys also are in the mix along with Billie Joe of Green Day and Fiona Apple for "what's so funny about peace, love and understanding" and others.

I'll make you a dinner of corn dogs and tater tots if you can get me a copy of this complete event. Anyone got tivo and dv-r?

Mon Frere performance video

In honor of Mon Frere performing last night in my previous hometown of Marietta, Georgia, here's a clip of them rockin' out recently at Chop Suey.

How those guys ended up with a tour stop in Marietta, I'll never know. But, it looks like their next stop is tonight in Mobile, Alabama, then onto Mississippi. Rough tour! Drive safely, avoid dirt roads, and if any toothless locals try to take you into the woods to show you their moonshine stills, don't trust 'em!

I grew up in Tennessee, so it's okay if I mock the South. :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Early Seattle Powerpop - The Heats

I have recently found myself scouring the web for information on 1970s and 1980s Seattle powerpop. I'd love to hear from anyone out there who has good information on bands of the time.

As a teaser, here is a sample of "I don't like your face" by The Heats (aka "The Heaters") who were a regional powerpop juggernaut during those years. Here's more from them on allmusic.

Also,take a gander at these pictures --
The Heats then... and more recently:

Lillydale at 826 Variety Show (7/22)

Do you ever find yourself saying, "you know I love pop music, but I sure would like to see a pop band play and get to see people juggling or dropped into a dunk tank"? If not, you're still welcome to attend this show. But, if so, the dream you dared to dream is coming true!

Indiepopsters Lillydale will be performing (along with other music acts) at the 826 Variety Show fundraiser. The event is taking place from noon until 5pm on 7/22 at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Center, which is located at 65th and Phinney.

Your $6 goes to a good cause. If you haven't heard of 826 Seattle, peruse their website. They do good work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Half Acre Day write up

Half Acre Day got a nice write up over on the Breakthru Radio site. The article is very complimentary, even saying their song "Sayonara" has the potential to be an international hit. You can hear it on their myspace page.

An interesting assertion in the article is that "there a million bands here [Seattle], 250,000 of which are quite good, and 250,000 others who are masterful self promoters..." What's your take on this?

The Rentals - Neumo's on 7/24

I have to admit I have not paid much attention to The Rentals. I bought their first record back in the 1990s and I thought it was a moderately catchy, if uneven, set of numbers that didn't really stick to my ribs. Of course, there are folks out there who absolutely love them (I'm looking in your direction, Ms. Hydra). So, there must be something going on that I was missing!

Well, if the song "We Have a Technical" on their myspace page is any indication, I need to go give another listen. I think it may be that my ears have changed rather than their sound having changed, since it still sounds like a moderately catchy, analog synth heavy pop tune. But, it seems more enjoyable to me now than it did a decade ago.

See them at Neumos on 7/24 with Ozma, who also have a healthy addiction to analog synths (and were perhaps influenced by Rentals main guy Matt Sharp's old band Weezer). All in all, it promises to be a good night of music.

The Capillaries - unstable, but solid as a rock

Matt Southworth, main man in Seattle powerpoppers The Capillaries, never intended to be a full time musician. Indeed, he was on the path to independent filmmaking in 2000, living in LA and “having a nervous breakdown” when the music bug bit him. But, it was that breakdown that led to him hunkering down in his basement and writing and recording his songs.

And he kept writing, and writing, and writing. After going through an LA version of The Capillaries, Matt moved to Seattle and kept writing. One hundred songs later, The Capillaries are on the verge of releasing “Love Conquers Some,” their second release.

And Seattle has been good to them. Matt notes that, “Seattle has a really strong connection to art in general. Something about being in the corner of the country makes the people more social here, more interested in art. There seems to be a solid audience here for power pop just like there is for hip-hop and roots country and metal.”

And when I say Seattle has been good to “them,” I do mean THEM. Matt points out that there have been 16 members of The Capillaries, if you go back to include the LA lineups. Perhaps that’s not surprising for a band Matt calls literate, with “an unstable side.” Especially live, where they “have a tendency to go off the rails. I think that combination of emotional instability and verbal acuity is interesting,” says Matt.

The Capillaries will be showing up on a number of live dates soon, especially after the record is released. So, head on out to see them. Matt says to tell him that Seattle Powerpop sent you. But, I’m not sure how he plans on using that information. Should I be nervous? I mean, he did declare himself emotionally unstable! :)

Their upcoming calendar, as well as our full email interview with Matt, is up over at The Capillaries myspace page. While you’re there, take a listen to their songs. They're really solid, catchy, rocking, and energetic. The very definition of powerpop!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cristina Bautista, Patience Please and Fishboy tonight at SS Marie Antoinette

Seattle is just a cool place to be. Where else can a former boat factory host pop bands? Only at the SS Marie Antoinette.

If you head there tonight, you can catch:

Cristina Bautista
Patience Please

The former two are local and Fishboy is from Texas. How appropriate is it for a band called Fishboy to be performing in a boat factory?

Patience Please just released a joyfully shambly indiepop record called "Parallel Plots" and are headed across the country on a tour. So, catch them here while you can.

I don't know much about Cristina Bautista. But, the tunes on her myspace page make me think she could be famous in a year or two. You've got to like a 19-year-old who sites Material Issue, Joe Jackson AND "Boys II Men, ABC, BBD" as influences. :)

Video from the vault... The Posies

This is a live acoustic performance by The Posies of "solar sister" on Mtv's 120 Minutes.

TIG - indieRSS and podcasts

Our friends over at Three Imaginary Girls have been kind enough to include the Seattle Powerpop Blog in their cool new indieRSS. They have this to say about the RSS and their podcasts.

Here's how it works: indieRSS is a webpage that feeds in the latest headlines from the best indie websites and blogs. It's a one-stop shop for the latest news headlines, reviews, gossip, music, and more.

TIG debut podcast!
The debut Three Imaginary Girls podcast is ready for your downloading pleasure! The podcast features ten of the finest tunes the Pacific Northwest has to offer, including tracks from You Say Party! We Say Die!, Kristin Allen-Zito, The Superficials, Thee Emergency, Daylight Basement, Patience Please, Boat, Tullycraft, The Salteens, and Miraflores.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Long Winters' new disc

Thanks to the folks at Mammoth Press, the new record (titled, "putting the days to bed") by The Long Winters can be heard online. So, tonight as I found myself looking for something to listen to while playing online poker, I fired it up and listened top to bottom.

Gut response: it's a really good record, well produced and inventive.

There is an undercurrent of "rootsy-ness" to the record. But, at the same time, it throws a heapin' helpin' of curved and angled melodies and dropped beats at the listener -- without ever losing the hooks.

"The Sky Is Open" was a stand-out track upon first listen. I'm looking forward to their CD release show Saturday 7/22 at Neumo's, and I'm also looking forward to picking up the disc and giving more rotation time.

Song of the weekend 7/15

I spent some time perusing bands outside of the Seattle area this weekend, and I came across a band from East Vancouver (Canada, that is) called China Syndrome, and they provided me with my "song of the weekend" in a little ditty called "Here Comes That Monday Feeling".

With vocals vaguely reminiscent of Andy Partridge and a classic powerpop guitar bounce, this is the perfect Monday song to kickoff your work week.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Shows for week of 7/16

I'd love to see more Northwest bands adding their shows to the list. Remember you can just hit the "comments" button below to add yours. But, I'd like to point out a few for the week myself.

Tuesday 7/18
Central Services is at Sunset Tavern with Kiss Kiss and Caleb Engstrom.

Wednesday 7/19
Billie Burke Estate is at the Tractor.

Saturday 7/22
The Long Winters have their CD release party at Neumo's with Tim Seely and the Lake Society.

Seeing the Billie Burke Estate won't make you crinkle your face.

A fresh look

If you're a regular reader of the Seattle Powerpop Blog, you probably did a double take as it loaded on your screen. After a few weeks I decided it was time for a new look. This was primarily motivated by finding another powerpop blog that was using the old template. But, I think I like this one more anyway. If y'all think it sucks, feel free to post comments. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Capitol Hill Block Party tickets

Just a heads up: Word has it that tickets for the Capitol Hill Block Party are going fast. The schedule includes bands of interest to Seattle Powerpop Blog readers, including Slender Means, The Village Green, The Pale Pacific, Smoosh, Visqueen and The Cops (among many others, of course).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Video from the vault... pusa

I just stumbled across this video of the TV debut, on Letterman specifically, of the President's of the United States of America. Enjoy!

My favorite random part is toward the end when they flash to Paul Shafer, rocking out on the organ. Ah, such a lovable dork. :)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Shows for week of 7/10

I think I'm going to take a new approach to show promotion here on the blog. I'll still point out a few that are of particular interest. But, I'd post a message each week and allow bands and readers to add shows to the post via comments.

I ask only that you imbed a link to a myspace page or website with sound samples. As always with the blog, I'll be pretty flexible in the definition of "powerpop". But, links to shows from bands that are outside the realm of this blog will be removed.

I'll mention that Ray Davies is performing tonight (7/10) at the Moore Theater. I have to admit I don't know what he's up to these days. But, the songs on his myspace page are mellow but pretty enjoyable.

I'll also note that The Tripwires, who provided my "Song Of The Weekend" (see below) are performing at the Tractor Tavern on 7/14.

Add your own by clicking "comments" below.

Song of the weekend (7/8)

This weekend it was The Tripwires who caught my ear. Their tune "Arm Twister" is equal parts 70s boogie, 60 bounce, and Big Star-esque guitar riffin' to keep me smiling for its duration.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Riffbrokers on a Buffalo Springfield compilation

Not Lame is releasing "Five Way Street," a compliation tribute to Buffalo Springfield. Seattle's The Riffbrokers are on the comp, and you can hear a sample of their contribution to the record here:

Sit Down, I Think I Love You

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Henry Boy video

For your viewing pleasure, here's some Henry Boy footage.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tullycraft, Racetrack & Parenthetical Girls (7/8)

If you find yourself looking for some pop tomorrow (July 8), head down to the Sunset Tavern to take in:

Parenthetical Girls

The many faces of Racetrack.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Video from the vault... the Fastbacks

Enjoy a video flashback with The Fastbacks and their tune "waste of time."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ghost Stories, Human Television and The Lilys

There's a good line up of bands at the Crocodile tonight (7/5). Head that way to check out:

The Lilys
Human Television
Ghost Stories

The Lilys and Human Television are on tour together, and locals Ghost Stories are opening up. All three promise a poppy night of good music.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

An unexpected success? The Young Sportsmen profile

The Young Sportsmen get good reviews. Don't believe me? Let's check the stats:

"...truly exceptional..." -- Three Imaginary Girls
"...going to be a highlight of the Seattle music scene in 2006." -- The Stranger
"...a rollicking, energetic pop-rock fiesta..." -- Randomville Magazie

But, such a solid set of reviews was unexpected, at least according to guitarist Ryan Maxwell. "Some music writers can be nasty, especially to pop bands, so I guess the positive reviews were, in themselves, somewhat unexpected."

I think he's just being modest, because if you've had an opportunity to see or hear the Young Sportsmen, you can understand exactly why they're getting such praise. If you haven't had such an opportunity, then stop reading this blog right now and go to their myspace page.

You can hear strains of Cheap Trick, Superdrag, and The Knack -- but all still with a unique voice as a band. The word that comes to mind for me is "classic." In my own mythical world where dudes with guitars writing catchy songs regularly have hit records, these guys would have solid careers. Back in the real world, I like to think that The Young Sportsmen are going to lead a new wave of powerpop out of the Northwest.

Whether or not that happens, Ryan likes what's currently coming from the scene, citing bands like, Ghost Stories, The Riffbrokers and Dept. of Energy as among his favorites. But, he also likes the diversity in Seattle.

"Bands like Siren's Sister, who have a real dramatic, almost theatrical sound can co-exist with Math and Physics Club, who are quiet and soft and subtle. These bands playing very different styles of pop can both do well for themselves. I didn't get that at first, but I think it's a really cool thing and says a lot about the sophistication of Seattle's music scene - both the musicans and their fans."

The fellas are currently recording their full length record at Fastback Studios and are pushing for a spring 2007 release. Until then, catch them around town, including a July 28 date at Sunset Tavern and again in late August at the International Pop Overthrow.

Reality show??

If you're thinking to yourself, "I sure wish there was a way for me to see some bands AND have the possibility to be on television," then you're in luck. Seattle's Mon Frere can provide just such an opportunity. Here's the word from their own mouths:

"of course you want to be on T.V. which is why you should come down to the chop suey wednesday, july 5th. (21+) we will be part of a indie music showcase reality t.v thing. or something like that. its all a bit shady. all i know for sure is that it's a 6 dollar show with us and three other rad seattle bands. worth it? fuck yeah brothers.

also, you're probably more likely to get on t.v if you're doing one of the following.

1) flashing
2) drunken, disorderly dancing
3) fighting
4) flashing
5) violently singing along to every song off a particular album you undoubtedly have and love. yeah. Ours.

yes. we're encouraging it.
rock on our adorable friends.
love, nouela"

According to the Chop Suey calendar, the line up is:

THE INDIE SHOW featuring Raz Rez, Mon Frere, Euphoriette, Magneto

Monday, July 03, 2006

Song of the weekend (July 1)

I wasn't on myspace quite as much during weekend of July 1 due to some long-overdue spring cleaning... Good times.

But, for the few hours I was online on Sunday, I'm going to give "song of the weekend" honors to The Small Change and their track "Too Busy Lovin' You." The tune's got a garage rock stomp driving it's powerpop heart. I've never caught these guys live. But, what comes to mind when listening to this track is rock-n-roll circa 1960s British Invasion. It's a little ragged (in a good way), but tight and focused.

These guys have an August 3 date lined up at the Croc and are in the bill for the International Pop Overthrow later that same month. I won't be deprived any longer.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

From one blog to another

If you've not yet had the chance, then head over to read the CMJ blog posted by John Roderick of The Long Winters. It's an interesting read on his time at the Bonnaroo Festival.

While you're cruising around the web, visit their myspace page and listen to the song Pushover. This is from their upcoming release on Barsuk. It's a great song, and I can't wait for the full release (slated for later in July, I think).