Friday, February 29, 2008

Our Favorite Shop

I love Jive Time Records in Fremont. They specialize in buying and selling used vinyl. Owner David Day is a super nice guy and he’s very knowledgeable about music and records. The store’s a visual and aural treat and a pleasure to spend time in. Be it rock, soul, jazz or blues, whatever you’re looking for you’re likely to find it here in good condition and for a good price. There’s plenty here for power pop lovers too – when I was there last week I picked up the ultra-rare Young Fresh Fellows’ record “A Tribute to Music” for $7.99 (I'm a record geek, what can I say?), Tommy Keene’s “Songs from the Film”, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians’ “Queen Elvis” and The Bee Gees’ “Odessa” for $3 each. I always spend at least 15 minutes flipping through the 99 cents record bins but by this point I already own most of the good stuff to be had for so cheap, but maybe you don’t? Here’s a list of five of my all-time favorite records that I saw in the 99 cents bins just last week:

Squeezing Out Sparks – Graham Parker
At Budokan – Cheap Trick
Seconds of Pleasure – Rockpile
Mars Needs Guitars – Hoodoo Gurus
David Johansen – David Johansen

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tullycraft Interview

Just as Gary is leaving, Josh Kerns is joining the Seattle Powerpop Blog team. It’s going to take a least two of us to fill Gary’s shoes. Here’s a great email interview Josh did with the band Tullycraft. You can catch them tomorrow night at their Easy Street Records (Queen Anne) in-store performance.

Q: What's been happening with Tullycraft since you released Every Scene?

Chris: Infighting and snippy comments.

Jenny: Shut up, Chris!

Cori: What the fuck, Jenny?

Sean: You guys suck.

Q: Are you happy with Every Scene? Can you tell me a little about your approach to Every Scene compared with Disenchanted Hearts and previous Tullycraft records? It seems to me that you really tried to make a much fuller, bigger sounding record (Jenny's vocals seem a lot more up front, and there's a lot more screaming guitar from Corianton, not to mention all the layers, different instruments you've added etc.)

Chris: I think it may seem a bit bigger because some songs slow down and open up more than some previous material. We primarily self record and have gotten a better at our studio techniques over the years. We did have some piano and violin in there, trumpet too, so there is more sound happening. I don't think we tried to make it bigger, but instead of building songs around casio keys we used a real piano.

Jenny: the real change for me was that, for the most part, I came up with my own vocal parts, whereas in the last two albums, I was brought in on the recording process towards the end, when they already had an idea of what vocals they wanted. I really enjoyed the process, though I felt the pressure, and the occasional writer's block, that comes with writing your own parts.

Cori: Yeah, we had some great players sit in too, Evan Mosher from the band Awesome, and Saundrah Humphrey from the Math & Physics club. They helped us broaden the sound and elevate some of those cheeky quasi-epic opera moments.

Q: After all these years, are you still having fun? It seems like you guys really have a good time

Chris: I already mentioned the infighting right? No, it's fun, bands are fun, or at least should be, I know we're pretty lucky to have one that actually is.

Jenny: I have a great time with the boys. Except Chris. Who I wish would shut up already!

Sean: As Paul McCartney famously once said, "I'd rather have a band than a Rolls Royce." Being in a band that is fun and something you consider at least semi-good is hard to come by. I think we're really lucky to have each other.

Q: What's the deal with all the vampire imagery? Was your heart broken by a young goth or punk at an early age?

Cori: Sean was traumatized by an elementary zoo trip into the nocturnal exhibit.

Sean: We're trying to start a new sub-genre called: Bubblegum Goth

Q: Do you guys harbor any secret dreams of rock stardom, or are you happy with the musical niche you guys have carved out?

Chris: Alas, rock stardom isn't in the cards for Tullycraft, but it's great to see a growing audience for our odd brand of music.

Jenny: I wouldn't want rock stardom. I really love being able to talk to the superfans that come up to us after shows. I think it's cool to mean a lot to a smaller amount of people, if that makes sense.

Cori: I secretly desire spandex and spiked bracelets.

Sean: If we ever had a hit single we'd only be popular in the mainstream for about six weeks and a lot of our old fans would probably end up hating us. It doesn't really seem worth it. There are countless "Flag Pole Sitta" bands in the world. I like to think we're part of something different.

Q: What's next for Tullycraft? Any touring, new recording or side projects for any of you?

Chris: We'll be playing shows in NYC and the East Coast this spring. We had thoughts of touring Europe, but my wife and I are pregnant with our second child this summer, so it wasn't great timing.

Cori: Babies ruin everything.

Sean: As Chris said... East Coast dates in June.

Q: Is there any significance to Friday's show, or just an opportunity to play?

Cori: Easy Street is a local institution, we're proud to do an in-store with them.

Chris: Just a local show, getting the rock (??) out to the good people of our town.

Jenny: Do you ever stop talking?

Sean: I've always wanted to play an in-store at Easy Street Records.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Beltholes/Lowe Beats

I caught a great show at the Tractor last Friday night featuring the Beltholes and the Lowe Beats.

With undeniable musical talent and a slightly warped sense of humor the Beltholes put on a highly rocking, extremely entertaining show. They sound like a crazy mash-up of Queen, Marty Robbins, The Dictators and Thin Lizzy. They’ve got a bunch of great songs, with complex arrangements that they pull off with amazing agility live – bravura vocals, harmonies, shredding guitars, keys, percussion, they make it all look so easy and so much fun. Kurt Block (Fastbacks/Young Fresh Fellows) is in the band; a sure sign of quality if ever there was one.

Fronted by the talented, funny and charismatic Scott McCaughey, the Lowe Beats kept the musicianship and fun coming on strong, playing an amazing set of great Nick Lowe hits and should have been hits. Lowe’s songs are wonderful and the Lowe Beats preformed them with obvious love and great skill. Hey any band with any member of the Young Fresh Fellows or the Model Rockets is going to be good and this band has two of each – the aforementioned Scott McCaughey (YFF) lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Jim Sangster (YFF) on guitar, John Ramberg (Model Rockets) on guitar/bass and backing vocals and Graham Black (Model Rockets) on drums. I don’t know what other band(s) bassist/guitarist Hugh Jones has played in but I do now know that he’s a very talented musician – for the last few songs of the set he handed his bass to John Ramberg, plugged in a beautiful vintage blonde telecaster and preceded to blow my socks off with his guitar heroics.

As this was a special reunion performance to commemorate Yep Rock Record’s reissue of Nick Lowe’s fantastic “Jesus of Cool” album the Lowe Beats might never play again but if they do be sure to go, you won’t regret it. In the meantime check out the Young Fresh Fellows, the Minus 5, the Tripwires, the Doll Test, the Beltholes, Sgt. Major, Roy Loney and the Longshots…

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thanks and farewell

One and all,

I'm writing this farewell letter to thank you all for such a fun ride. I started the Seattle Powerpop Blog just under two years ago on a lark, and it has been such a cool, positive experience. I've met great people, heard great music and learned a lot about music blogging.

I want to thank in particular all the great bands making enjoyable music. You're the reason I started this thing!

I want to thank Andy Miracle for taking SPB on so that it doesn't die with my departure to North Carolina (which happens in only a handful of days now).

I want to thank all of you who read the blog (and I still really don't have a good grasp on who that is... but there are lots of you!).

Really and truly, thanks to you all. There are a ton of things I'll miss about Seattle and the music community here. I like to think that I left a little bit of my own positive imprint on it during my limited time as part of that community.

I wish you all the best and good rockin' all around.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Recommended shows for the week of 2/24/08

Tuesday the 26th:
Young Sportsmen at the Sunset Tavern

Friday the 29th:
Tullycraft at Easy Street Records (Queen Anne) at 8 PM

Thee Sgt. Major III at the High Dive

The Quit at the Comet Tavern

The Hands/The Whore Moans/The Earaches at Neumo's

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New songs from the Greatest Hits

The Greatest Hits have some excellent new songs up on their MySpace page recorded by Steve E. Nix and Johnny Sangster. If like me you love the New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers, Sweet, T. Rex and the Raspberries than be sure to check out the Greatest Hits, they might just become your new favorite band.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free "half record" by the Lashes

I just got the following note from Ben Lashes about free mp3s available on The Lashes myspace page.

hey, let your readers know that in honor of record companies falling apart, the lashes are giving away their entire new half-record "thank you" side a for free on our myspace page. The hard copies are still available exclusively at sonic boom records or but for all those people who believe record shopping is a thing of the past, the mp3's are our treat to them! It's the best power pop half-record put out by the lashes this year!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Small Change doing Rod Stewart

Okay... not "doing" Rod Stewart, although that would be some salacious video. In fact, they are performing "Stay With Me" in this New Year's video on YouTube via Chris Force.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Lowe Beats

Fans of Nick Lowe, The Young Fresh Fellows and The Model Rockets are in for a rare treat – The Lowe Beats, (Scott McCaughey and Jim Sangster of The Young Fresh Fellows and John Ramberg and Graham Black of The Model Rockets and Hugh Jones) no doubt the greatest Nick Lowe cover band ever, will be playing their first show in about a decade at The Tractor Tavern this Friday night (2/22/08) in celebration of Yep Rock Records re-issue of Nick Lowe’s incredible first album “Jesus of Cool” (originally released as “Pure Pop for Now People” here in the states). The Beltholes and The Cops are also on the bill so this should really be a great show.

Speaker Speaker

Speaker Speaker plays melodic, catchy, highly energetic Punk/Powerpop - this is going to be a big week for them. Check 'em out.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Visqueen tonight @ Sunset

This week's post on KEXP

This week's post on KEXP is the last of my posts in the Rock n' Roll Pest Control series. As I say there, I'll continue blogging for them after I move. But, yesterday's is the last in the series. Check it out if you care to.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

This week's post on KEXP (and a show tonight!)

First, I just realized that this is the 950th post on SPB. That's a lot of rock!

Second, I forgot to mention that my weekly KEXP column, titled Rock n' Roll Pest Control was posted yesterday and focused on the band SHIM.

Third, as you can see in that post, SHIM is having a CD release party tonight. So, go get your rock on!

You can read my weekly column at the KEXP blog here, or by clicking the static link over there --->

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

SPB about to get trounced

Metroblogging Seattle is having their second annual "Blarch Badness" tournament of Blogs. What does that mean? I'm not sure. I think it's a popularity contest or something. ;)

But, it's very nice that SPB was even considered for such a thing, and we're amongst some heavy competition. In the music category, there are five blogs: SPB, Three Imaginary Girls, Line Out, KEXP and Sound on the Sound.

I'm honored that SPB is even mentioned with these fine folks. So, if you can figure out the hyper-confusing tournament structure and feel like voting, please do!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Review: The Riffbrokers & Throwback Suburbia @ Skylark

Welcome to SPB's third ever contributor, Mr. David Thompson of The Scheme. Below is his review of the Riffbrokers/Throwback Suburbia show at the Skylark this past weekend.

By David Thompson

Throwback Suburbia hit the stage with quite an impact, playing their super-catchy single “Circles” with killer three- and four-part harmonies and a sound so tight it’s hard to imagine a recording that could improve upon it. Their live show was all the more impressive when I found the Portland quarter has been together for less than two years. This was their Seattle debut & the excellent sound at the Skylark served them well.

Throwback Suburbia are probably the most “powerpop” band I’ve seen in years and unlike some genre purists, they don’t forget the “power” part, with enthusiastic drum bashing & upfront guitars … not with Who-like abandon but in a more commercial, modern-rock way, like American Hi-Fi or Seattle’s own Lashes. Singer Jimi Evans reminds one of a young Joe Jackson (and not just because his white shoes bring to mind the “Look Sharp” album cover.) Mostly think “Jellyfish” -- the sort of pop that aims for majestic radio greatness.

If Throwback Suburbia is tight without being too slick, the The Riffbrokers are loose without being too sloppy. Their music is reminiscent of what the Brits call “pub rock”, which may sound like “bar band” but is a big step up from that, think Nick Lowe or Graham Parker - fine musicians who don’t noodle around but play it straight up, rough ‘n’ ready. And on their poppier tunes, singer Nick Millward’s voice has a great twang to it that reminds me of Paul Chastain from fantastic 90’s powerpop group Velvet Crush. Nick’s fat guitar tone & Heather Burnett’s melodic basslines kept the trio sounding full - But, y’know, I coulda swore The Riffbrokers were a quartet. So when Scott Sutherland jumped on stage for backing vocals, I said “yeah, him, that’s the guy.” The Riffbrokers’ site has him listed as guitarist so I’m gonna guess he’s still in the group and has sprained his wrist in, say, a bizarre gardening accident.

(Guess I’m glad that the above review is positive cuz out of my speakers as I type this, the Riffbrokers are singing “careful what you say” (from the chorus of their rockin’ track “Evaporate.”))

I do apologize to Ryan Perrey for not showing up early enough, esp. since he came all the way from Austin, TX (though may be living here now?). [Word to the wise: the Skylark is a GREAT place to see a show but the opener really is on @ 9 and the headliner @ 11]

As a small act of contrition, here’s a quick review of the songs @ his MySpace page: “Perrey takes the best elements of folk: skillful fingerpicking, emotive lead vocals and spot-on harmonies and adds a nice bit of edge with the occasional rough guitar or psychedelic keyboard sound.” But, why read a review of his MySpace page? - just go there.

Final note: Big conrats to Riffbrokers Nick and Heather who just returned from their honeymoon in exotic Greenlake and my Superbowl condolences to their slammn’ drummer Dustin who, like me, is a New England expatriate (no pun intended.)

Thanks for the report, David!

Facts About Funerals news

First I came [this] close to typing "New West Motels" instead of "Facts About Funerals." I'm still struggling to make that change.

Second, a big congrats to the guys, who have had a nice little run of things. They just had the "demo of the week" on 107.7 And then I got this message from Rob:

we're working out the details, and doing the fine print dance, but signing a deal with Evangeline Records out of San Francisco (home of Chuck Prophet, Bob Frank & John Murry, the Kim Philbys- great power pop band, by the way)... they also are in cahoots with a cool euro/uk label called Decor...

WHOA! you're the first person outside the band that i've said anything to... i figure we can give you the scoop, as a going away present...

So, take THAT Seattle music press -- you've been scooped! :) Now with that out of the way, you should go see them at an early show (8pm) tomorrow at the High Dive with the Sweet Dominiques & Beestings.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Boss Martians to be played during Super Bowl

I just got this through myspace. The all caps would indicate they're somewhat excited about it. :)



We're featured in an E-TRADE commercial and it was just confirmed this am that it will be aired during the SUPERBOWL.



Saturday, February 02, 2008

Studio 66

Another good show happening tonight…

Friday, February 01, 2008

The house, she is sold

Well, for all the doom and gloom in the media about the crappy housing market, we managed to get a contract signed and fully negotiated in exactly two weeks!

That's great news, generally speaking. But, it does mean I'll be making my exit from the Pacific Northwest sooner than I thought I might be! As it stands now, we plan to leave on March 5.

I'm going to be trying to get out to as many shows as I can between now and then. So, if you see me out and about, please do come say hello and goodbye.

SPB definitely will not be dying once I leave, as Mr. Andy Miracle is on board and blogging away. If there are others out there who would be interested in contributing, shoot me a note. I'm sure Andy would welcome the assistance in coverage, as well.

This week's post on KEXP blog

This week in my weekly column at the KEXP blog (titled "Rock n' Roll Pest Control"), I focused on a show tonight in West Seattle at the Skylark Cafe featuring The Riffbrokers and Throwback Suburbia.

You can read about it here or see all past column entries by clicking that link on the right --->