Monday, April 30, 2007

Calling all correspondents

In general, I think I post enough on the blog to keep it intersting around here. But, I wanted to put the word out that if anyone happens to attend a cool show and want to share their thoughts, their photos, their videos or whatever else, I'm open to it. This is especially true given the number of multiple cool shows on a given night around here.

So, if you'd like to be an official (or unofficial, for that matter) SPB correspondent, just send the aforementioned "whatever" my way. If you have questions, drop me an email.

Fully downloable album by Model Photographer

This is completely old news, since they posted a blog about it on their myspace page back in January. But, it is somehow only now, a full three months later, landing on my radar. So, perhaps I'm not the only one who didn't know that you can download the full album by Model Photographer for free simply by going to their website.

Here's what they say on the site:

In late 2006, Model Photographer finished recording an album they had been working on for over a year. After spending far too many days, weeks and months obsessing about the less glamorous "business" side of releasing an album, fate intervened and the band became a side project by default when the members began to spend more time focusing on their other bands. At approximately the same time, the idea of doing the standard "PROMOTE! PROMOTE! SELL! SELL!" method of getting the word out about this album became increasingly repulsive and exhausting to think about. All they really wanted was for you to hear it. So without further ado and with little regard for repercussions, the band would like to offer you their first album, in it's entirety, free of charge. Consider it an experiment. Feel free to participate.

So, on one hand we should lament that Model Photographer is totally on the back burner. On the other hand, rejoyce that you're getting some great music for free... legally free!

If You're Only Doing One Thing...

So, if you're only going to one show this week, I'm going to recommend it be the show featuring:

The Tripwires
Sgt. Major
The Riffbrokers

This one is on Friday, May 4 at The Comet Tavern. There's nothing about this bill that I don't like... except perhaps it's not one that is sponsored by the Blog. For all intents and purpopses this is an SPB Powerpop Night, because lord knows it's a bill I would've put together, given the chance!

I have no idea what order these guys are playing in, because it seems to be listed differently on every website I check. They all rock, so the running order really doesn't matter. And for all of my lack of ability to get them booked on an official SPB Powerpop Night, The Tripwires are still my favorite local band.

Shows for week of 4/30

Happy end of April, everyone. The sun is coming up earlier and setting later, and that does wonders for my energy level. Yaaaaaay solar system! :) Here are some shows to celebrate with:

Monday, 4/30
Jarvis Cocker at the Showbox

Wednesday, 5/2
Kings of Leon at the Moore Theater

Thursday, 5/3
Arctic Monkeys at the Showbox

Friday, 5/4
Somehow there is another Elvis Costello cover night going on. You might recall there was just one held at the Croc like a month ago. This one is at the Sunset Tavern and is a benefit for 826 Seattle. It features Dept of Energy, Shorthand for Epic, and a ton of other folks, many of whom I don't know.

Llama, The Tripwires, Sgt. Major and The Riffbrokers are at the Comet

Slender Means does another CD release (...?) at Easy Street Records

The Decemberists are at the Paramount Theater

Saturday, 5/5
Ozma is at El Corazon

Boy Crush, Conservative Dad and the Lund Bros are at the Skylark Cafe (West Seattle)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Powerpop Night photos

Although it wasn't a particularly large crowd (given that we were up against Sloan and the 88, that's not a surprise!), a good time was had at the Powerpop Night held over in West Seattle at the Skylark Cafe. If you've never been to the Skylark, I recommend you check it out. It's super easy to find, and it's just across the bridge (literally at the bottom of the offramp at Delridge). It's a cool hang out with a nice vibe.

Anyway, as per usual, I snapped some photos during the sets.

Red Sky did another good job, as is the norm with them. The addition of the keyboard player was perfect for really giving them a lush, swirly sound to match the nature of the their songs. That said, I always have to hold myself back from jumping on stage with them and singing harmonies, because while their recordings feature backing vocals, Rob does all the singing in a live setting.

This first one was a so-so photo, so I did a bit of photoshopping to making it more interesting.

The next is a pretty straight forward shot of Rob, rocking out.

Doll Test closed the night out, and I really like their sound with Nick Riffbroker joining them on second guitar and backing vocals. They were already a great band, and this addition kicked them up a notch. They brought the rock. Unfortunately, I only got one usable photo.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where the darn poster go?

For some reason, the poster for the SPB Powerpop Night just plain ol' disappeared from the side banner of my site here. Very weird.

So, the following image should be over there -------->

But, it's not (at least as of 10:59pm on Friday). So, here it is:

Blogger frustration: Well, now it won't even appear in this post. Weird, because it shows up when I preview the post. Somebody is screwing with me. Darn you, blogspot!!!

SPB Powerpop Night - tomorrow (4/28)

If you find yourself in West Seattle tomorrow night (Saturday, 4/28), or find yourself looking for somewhere to be, might I recommend you head to the Skylark Cafe. The Skylark, if you haven't been, is a great little hang out. It's cozy, but still sizable (think Mars Bar, only bigger), with a cool vibe and good food.

The next SPB Powerpop Night is being held there tomorrow, and it's a pop tour de force, featuring The Scheme, New West Motels (now known as Red Sky) and The Doll Test. Music starts at 9pm. So, come enjoy.

But first, go listen to the goodness.

The Scheme

New West Motels/Red Sky

The Doll Test

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Phamous Phaces live at the Cavern Club

Here's some footage of Eugene's Phamous Phaces playing the International Pop Overthrow festival at the Cavern Club (Liverpool) last year.

Elf Power, Lillydale & Patience Please mp3s

There's a good show happening tonight (4/26) at The Crocodile with Elf Power, Lillydale and Patience Please. So, in celebration and preparation, I thought I'd post some mp3s from those bands.

Elf Power's "An Old Familiar Scene"

Lillydale's "Broken Stereos"

Patience Please's "Antediluvian"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Tripwires performance videos

Here's some youtube footage (posted by CForce33) of the Tripwires live at the Sunset Tavern back on 3/31.

Although for some reason I can't get them on an SPB Powerpop Night bill to save my life, these guys never cease to bring a smile to my face, and I can't wait to catch them again. They're part of a great bill in early May at The Comet with Llama, Sgt. Major, and The Riffbrokers.

"Last Night"

"Crawling from the Wreckage"

SPB gets a shoutbox

You'll notice a new feature there to your right ---> (down a little)

It's the SPB shoutbox. Overly cutsie? Perhaps. Annoying? We'll find out! But, feel free to leave some comments if you have them!

If You're Only Doing One Thing...

... this week, then let it be creating a cloning machine.

See, here's my dilemma. I'm putting on a free show at the Skylark Cafe this Saturday. It's another SPB Powerpop Night, and this one features The Scheme, New West Motels (aka Red Sky) and The Doll Test. So, of course if you're only doing one thing this week, I'd want it to be that.

But, I'm also a realist, and I know that Sloan and The 88 are playing at Neumos.

Thus, there is an extreme need for a cloning machine. Someone get to work on that and keep me posted of your progress. I want a report on my desk by 8am on Thursday.

Slender Means "rock&roll machine" ep

I was fortunate enough to have a copy of the new Slender Means ep, titled Rock&Roll Machine, hand delivered to my mailbox last week.

As it turns out, one of the Slender Means guys lives pretty close to me. So, it was kind of odd to come home and find an envelope in my mailbox with no address... just "to gary, from slender means." But, I was pleased as punch to get a copy, as I was a big fan of their debut release, Neon & Ruin (side note: these guys like their ampersands!).

I'm going to do a track-by-track breakdown on this one, starting with...

Track 1 - Fade Out
The opener of the new ep would have easily fit onto Neon & Ruin, and thus it comes as no surprise that it was recorded during the same sessions as that record. In general Josh's vocals tend to be pitch perfect and pleasant. That remains true here, as well, but the tune has a little more "sneer" than much of Neon & Ruin. This track has a great organ-driven, almost garage feel. They're not as ragged or rough as a garage rock band, but this one is driven by that spirit and married with a super catchy melody. [blogger note: As of right now you can download this track free from their myspace page]

Track 2 - Ship Wrecked
Now here's an interesting track. The verse oddly uses a sort of Afro-Caribbean groove in the drums and bass, with a ringing, echoing guitar. The band does a great job of reflecting the lyrical content, which is speaks of a "drowning sailor" and being "ship wrecked and left for dead." I'm not sure if this is a metaphor for loneliness or if they're just painting a picture/telling a story. What this song lacks in hooks it makes up for in scene setting. Not their strongest tune. But, not a throw-away, either.

Track 3 - Foreign Legion
Foreign Legion opens with a drum machine and keyboard, laying the foundation for a soaring falsetto vocal. Two bands pop into my head right away with this song - Portishead and Coldplay. According to the liner notes, this one was recorded by Josh (alone, presumably?), and while it maintains a bit of a demo quality in terms of being so different than the sounds we're used to hearing from Slender Means, it's a very pleasant track.

Track 4 - The Comet (live)
This song really underscores how strong a live act Slender Means is. The first time I listened to it, I had no idea it was live until Cheryl Waters makes the announcement about KEXP after they end the tune! Wow. Album quality performance in a live setting. And having done an in-studio at KEXP fairly recently, I applaud loudly for them pulling off such nearly perfect vocals. The track itself is is typical Slender Means - solid, catchy, melodic.

If I have a criticism of Slender Means it would be that I'd like to hear a little more fire in their bellies. They're such a solid act and write great songs. But, I do get a sense of detachment from them that I can't quite describe in robust terms. A friend of mine used to say that good rock and roll requires a certain amount of stupidity, and I think I would turn the "stupid" button up about 10% with Slender Means.

But, don't let that stop you from picking up this otherwise stellar release that's worth a close listen.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rock Olympics Video: Andrew WK vs. Shane Divorce

Sponsored by The Stranger. No real explanation needed:

Shows for week of 4/23

This is one of those weeks that give you a headache as a powerpop fan. There are so many shows this week, and so many great, conflicting shows this weekend -- Including the next SPB Powerpop Night! I book these things months in advance, and it turns out it's "up against" one of the worst/best possible competitors. Aaaargh! Damn it.

Wednesday, 4/25
Kaiser Cheifs, The Walkmen and The Little Ones at the Showbox

Thursday, 4/26
Elf Power, Lillydale, Patience Please at The Crocodile

Friday, 4/27
Iggy & The Stooges and the Boss Martians at WaMu Theater

The Lashes and The Catch at The Comet Tavern

Saturday, 4/28
SPB Powerpop Night at the Skylark Cafe, featuring The Doll Test, Red Sky (formerly New West Motels) and The Scheme

Sloan and The 88 at Neumos

Aqueduct at the Crocodile

Sunday, 4/29
Llama, The Lund Bros and Saccharine at the Rendezvous

Interview with The Lund Bros

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

Chris Lund (vocals & guitar): We're, in my opinion, a band that emphasizes strong song writing and vocal harmonization. We rock a bit harder than some of the other indy stuff, too. From what I've heard from people attending our shows, they seem to come away with roughly the same impression.

Sean Lund (vocals & drums): This is actually a tough question. I don't usually get feedback from those that don't have positive things to say (they usually want to talk to us because they liked what was happening) so I'm not sure that what I write will be an accurate reflection of what a random sample of people that see us think of us. Nevertheless, I'll say this, those that have shared their thoughts on the matter usually say they like our harmonies and/or our songs. Those are the two most common elements that seem to endear us to whatever level of endearing we might be capable. I suppose it's natural to like what you do and so I agree that those are two of our strengths.

In a perfect world, here's how I would like us to be described: "They are a great fucking band!" Of course, there are always going to be detractors too but I'd rather not spend time thinking about such things... life's not long enough.

Gwon Chang (bass & backing vocals): I think others would describe us as tight, energetic and musical. I think others would see Chris on guitar and be blown away by his shredding. I think others would hear Sean singing and think to themselves, “Huh. A drummer singing lead!” I see us as a very musical band that has a lot of fun playing out and about.

2. Who are your favorite NW bands and why?

Chris Lund: Llama, the Tripwires and the Young Sportsmen are current faves - also Girl Trouble. They're bands that have their own unique style and also are great to do shows with.

Sean Lund
: I'll probably reiterate what my brother and Gwon have said but I'm definitely into Llama at the moment. There are a bunch of great songs on the last record (there's going to be a new one shortly I hear) that knock me out and a couple that just kill me like "Right Now" and "Come On Come On." I love the Tripwires too, and not just because we have played shows with them. They have something that is unique and they are all great players who seem to play the right notes at all times. As far as T-town (or any town for that matter), I really enjoy Girl Trouble. Their live shows are a blast and they are some of the nicest people around.

Young Sportsmen because they rock like The Who with great harmonies and songs. Finally, I've always been a huge Posies fan. We worked with Ken Stringfellow in the studio a few years back and it was a lot of fun. Oh and I can't forget Death Cab. I first saw them at Bumbershoot in 2001 and was hooked right away. It's great that they're now doing so well. I love Chris Walla's production: intricate textural layering with Rhodes piano and Ben Gibbard's great lyrics.

Gwon Chang: I’m a big fan of the Young Sportsmen (they’re so nice!), Llama (they’re so nice, too!), Twink the Wonder Kid/Root Beer Barrels (they’re funny without being stupid. Plus, they rock!), Upwell (not necessarily pop, but a great local band, nonetheless). Oh, yeah! The Tripwires (so, so good at pop!).

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

Chris Lund: It's better that it's been in the past. I never got the whole grunge thing.

Sean Lund: I'm happy with where things have gone lately but I suppose it can always be better. I love the fact that pop bands are getting good shows because it seemed like there weren't many opportunities once upon a time not so long ago. I live in Tacoma so I wish there were more clubs to play down here. Not that there aren't good ones; there are. Just not enough of them. I dig the fact that we have a lot of summer festivals in the area that offer lots of local acts but I'm pissed that they took the extra day off Bumbershoot. I'm also distressed at the cost as it's becoming a bit out of reach for those that produce the art that fills the stages, booths, lawns, speakers, and exhibition halls. I suppose these are common growing pains for such a popular festival. Nonetheless...

Gwon Chang: The S.O.P.I.S. (State Of Pop In Seattle) is good. Now if we could only get all the indie scenesters to jump on board.

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

Chris Lund: The Raspberries or Queen back in 1974.

Sean Lund: U2; right now. I know they're so huge that it's not cool to talk them up too much but U2 in concert is the closest thing to a spiritual experience that I've, well... experienced. I've seen every tour since 1987 and, with the exception of the Pop Mart tour, the experience is as good now as it was when they were hungry kids. It is unabashedly stadium rock, but the grand scale of the notes of Edge's guitar playing and Bono's vocals seem to require it, but not for
pomposity or egos' sake. They are a band of amazing positive energy and big ideas musically and lyrically and those qualities are extremely appealing to me, more now than ever as I get older, hopefully wiser, and try to maintain my idealism and an open mind.

Gwon Chang: Open for? I thought the question said “see”. Oh well. I’d like to have opened for Boston right about when Boston was released (’75-’76?). Or, completely mismatched, I’d like to have opened for Rush circa Permanent Waves. Just because I love Rush. Actually, I’d loved to have seen those shows as well!

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

Chris Lund: We've got some songs completed for our upcoming CD which we hope to have a Summer/Fall release date.

Sean Lund: We're going into the studio in a few weeks and I'm so damn excited that I can hardly sleep. We've got a bunch of songs (hopefully a few really good ones) and we'll be recording all summer with a prospective Autumn release. This one will likely be a single CD this time around. We released a double CD last time and I loved it but the format made it difficult to enjoy the album in it's entirety. I enjoy both records but it frustrates me no end that there isn't more
unity there.

On a personal note, my brother and his wife just had a baby boy and it's great. I love being an uncle; twice now. He's going to be a musician I think... [blogger's note: Congratulations!!]

Gwon Chang: We’re always looking to book shows. We are heading to the studio to work on more tunes and hope to have some new music for the masses soon.

6. What's something people don't know about The Lund Bros?

Chris Lund: Ha Ha. Oh, I couldn't tell you that. We've got to maintain a bit of an aura of mystery, eh?

Sean Lund: Hmmm... a hard question to start with and a hard one to end on... Okay, I think I got one: We had a "spec" deal back in 1997 with Geffen records under our former name "Loser". We recorded a demo at Moon Studio in Olympia and sent it to the A&R rep that requested the material. Of course we were completely crushed when the guy told us we sounded "too much like the Beatles." I really don't think we do sound like the Beatles, particularly nowadays, but I suppose the criticism takes us nicely back to the now-answered unanswered part of the first question; apparently life is long enough! Now that my answers seem to have a nice bit of symmetry, I'll wind it up here.

Gwon Chang: Chris is mysterious. Me? I’m an open book. Something interesting is that Chris and Sean are actually brothers! And, if they seem familiar to you, it’s because you’ve seen them as Loser and/or International Pop Overthrow in years past.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Anyone using Virb?

There are a ton of social networking sites out there, and myspace certainly has seemed to have take a lion's share of the market. But, as I mentioned a few posts ago, my friend Sarah is all over a relatively new one called Virb.

I will say this, it certainly looks a lot better than myspace from a graphics perspective. There aren't a ton of bands there yet, it seems. But, there is a small powerpop group for users (only 8 members thusfar, including litlnemo, who also runs the site.

I'm considering setting up a Virb account for the blog, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Anyone else out there using it?

I think you still have to be invited at this point to be able to set up a page. So, if you're not a current Virb member and want to be, send me a message and I'll send you an invitation. The Blog has a very rudimentary and not robust Virb page. Maybe I can get Sarah to help me update it... nudge nudge. :)

Even more reviews on the way

I've been getting a nice steady flow of cool CDs to review here at SPB central (aka. my house in Edmonds). So, in the next few days look for reviews of:

The Heaters (classic 1970s/1980s Seattle powerpop!)
Speaker Speaker
Slender Means
Patient Patient
We Wrote The Book On Connectors

So much music to digest...

Central Services, Red Sky & Young Sportsmen photos

I was playing around with my camera settings again last night. I've had this "new" digital camera for almost 8 months, and I'm still trying to get it to do what I want it to do. MY KINGDOM FOR AN AFFORDABLE DIGITAL SLR!!!

Sorry to shout there. I just wish I had a better camera, but can't stomach paying so much for a digital SLR when I know the day after I buy it they'll come out with a better model at half the price.

Anyway, as I mentioned a few times leading up to it, down at the Crocodile last night there was a mighty fine pop show. Here are some photos:

Starting the night was Central Services. I was disappointed to find that the fellas are losing a member. Ethan, who is also in Math and Physics Club, is leaving the group to pursue his own recordings. He was playing an awfully pretty Rickenbacker guitar through a Vox amp, and they said from the stage that his recordings sound "straight out of 1967." So, color me interest to hear what he's going to be doing.

I was exploring the zoom during their set and snapped this image of Jeff:

Second on the bill was the Young Sportsmen. As always, they brought the rock and the volume. They're just so darn reliable and solid, it makes you wonder if they ever have a bad show. I was trying to capture the arena-sized rock by getting a wider shot. Sadly, the output with this camera resulted in two distinct camps: blurry photo and overly washed out flash photo.

I'll choose the blurry photo with character every time.

Once again I was unable to take pictures of Shake Some Action, due to being occupied on stage playing all the low notes, and being totally distracted by having to change a broken string during the first freaking song. Without exaggeration, I've been playing bass for 20 years and that's only the third time I've ever broken a string live. Thankfully I was able to change it out without a super long delay.

Blogger update: I had a photo of the Shake Some Action set sent in by Sarah (who is also a militant Virb enthusiast... she's trying to ween folks off of myspce and onto Virb -- how's that going, Sarah? I still can't make myself do it.). She snapped this photo with her cell phone. I think it really shows off my shiny dome. :)

So, after SSA left the stage, the now-officially-renamed Red Sky (formerly known as New West Motels) took over. They've expanded to a five piece, having snagged a keyboard player who is so new to town that I overheard Rob giving him directions to the Crocodile before the show.

These guys churn out tunes that are swirly and dreamy, and I was able to catch a picture of bassist Doran that represents that vibe pretty well -- although this shot looks a little more menacing than the band actually sounds.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Visiting TIG more than ever

If you've not been there recently, the ladies of Three Imaginary Girls have given their site a complete overhaul, and I love the results. I find myself going there a few times a day now, rather than every few days as was the case before.

The layout is better, there is more content, the IndieRSS is easier to thumb through, and the Imagi-Blog is active and fun to read. So, if'n you haven't visited, head on over and do so now.

It's a lovely new site. Well done, TIGs, and congrats!

The Weekend Roundup

There's some cool stuff happening this weekend, so pick your poison! I'll pick five of them.

Tonight (1) at The Crocodile, we've got a powerpop powerhouse line up of Red Sky (featuring members of Swell and New West Motels), Shake Some Action, Young Sportsmen and Central Services. Hard to beat, right? Well, (2) over at Neumo's you've got Drag The River, Slender Means, Street To Nowhere and Rocky Votolato.

Saturday is tough, too. (3) Patient Patient and Spook The Horse are at The Comet. While (4) the Sunset is hosting Ms. Led, Argo, Spanish for 100, and Bre Loughlin.

After all that rock in Seattle on Friday and Saturday, maybe you're thinking about getting out of town. A change of scenery would do you good. So, go see (5) The Lund Bros at Hell's Kitchen down in Tacoma.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

the Pop Machine is stuck...

The youthful rock dudes and dudettes of The Pop Machine just posted that they've officially run out of gas money on their tour. Of course, they're in Austin, TX, and I can think of worse places for a band to get stuck. So, I imagine it will work out just fine (although it looks like they've only got a few days to make it to Hollywood, Arkansas for a show on the 21st).

While you sit and ponder their tour troubles, you can also view a video of them conquering the famous "Rocky steps" in Philly.

The Conversation Heart video & mp3

I randomly found a video by The Conversation Heart on You Tube today. I thought I'd throw in an mp3 to post along with it. I'm assuming these guys are completely kaput as a band. I know members have gone on to be involved with The Hungry Pines and other groups. But, not sure if that means this one is completely dead or on hiatus. Anyone confirm??

The sound and video are not particularly in sync here. So, you may want to get high before viewing.

Powerpop book pre-order

There is a new powerpop book on its way to the masses, called Shake Some Action (no relation to the Seattle band of the same name).

It appears to be ready for release in July and comes with a companion CD featuring 24 tracks. You can pre-order the book/CD through NotLame now for around $25.

Warning: No powerpop content

My wife and I went to our first Sonics game last night, in fact our first NBA game ever. Her office got free tickets. So, off we went.

Now, I've never been an NBA guy. I love college basketball, UNC in particular (since I worked there for 5 years). But, the NBA can suck it for all I care... and the Sonics did just that last night.

Anyway, I somehow have managed to not know that the Sonics mascot is a freakin' Sasquatch. How could I not know this? Is this common knowledge? Sasquatch rules. :)

Anyway, "Squatch," as they call him, was the most entertaining part of my NBA experience. He came out of the rafters, Mission-Impossible style, to start the game, and he launched a dunk from mid-court off a ramp wearing roller blades. I'm all about the circus aspect of professional sports.

Indie Rock Fashion Show

There's apparantly a fashion show tonight (4/19) at The Croc. I'm not completely clear on what makes it an Indie Rock Fashion Show, but that's how it's billed. So, either that means there are indie rock people in the fashion show, or it's a fashion show that sleeps on floors while touring and works at a coffee shop to pay the bills. :)

In either case, if you head down there you'll be able to hear two good bands: Siberian and Ghost Stories. Here are some mp3s to sample and to use for practicing your runway walk.

Ghost Stories' "Upper Ten/Lower Five"

Siberian's "Soft Rains"

Tyra says, "Congratulations, you're still in the running to be America's Next Top Indie Rock Model."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Color Bars record...

... is totally going to rock my brain. I just hopped over to take a peek at their myspace page to see if they have any news or updates. Sadly, there are none.

But, I took another listen to the three new tracks from that planned upcoming record, titled Kairos At Infinity. They are REALLY REALLY REALLY good. Don't believe me? Go listen, chump. ;)

"Ja Mata Shibuya" sounds like a lost Matthew Sweet track if he had decided to mostly forego the distortion pedal, and I don't even know how to describe "ID Incinerator" right now. But, it sure brings a huge smile to my face each time I listen.

I sure hope they put this thing out soon.

More on The Divorce

... no pun intended. Of course, I imagine that one will be worn into the ground before it's all said and done. But, bad wordplay aside, I got some additional info from Shane to share. I asked about the cause of the break up. Here's his reply:

it was indeed mutual. we felt we'd reached a plateau and that it was simply time to move on. there has been no internal squabbling or anything. we are still very good friends, and in fact we're all groomsmen for our bass players upcoming wedding, and they're all groomsmen in mine. no exciting drama there.

and there will certainly be future projects, musical and non-musical, for all of us. we will certainly keep you abreast of any developments.

Confirmed: The Divorce to break up

The Stranger has a blog up reporting that The Divorce is breaking up. Their own sites on myspace and blogspot make no mention of this.

I just got an email from Shane, and he's confirmed they're breaking up. Here's some of his email text to me:

the rumor is true. after nearly seven years, we are indeed breaking up. we will play our final shows on june 30th at the crocodile cafe.

Here's an mp3 by the band: Fishing With The Party Sharks

Capitol Hill Block Party - preliminary bands & tickets

Capitol Hill Block Party posted an update to their website today with the following info:

BLOCK PARTY 2007 Dates Announced: Friday and Saturday Nights, July 27- 28 2007 will be the best and biggest Block Party yet! Doors open at 3:00 pm on Friday, 1:00 pm on Saturday. The outdoor stages run until 11pm, inside until 2am.


Over 30 more bands to be announced May 16! Updates on the lineup will be available online at

Apparantly tickets are available starting Friday via TicketWest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ted Leo show (4/17) and video

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are at Showbox tonight, and Seattle Weekly ran a preview last week that's worth reading. The Stranger did a piece on the group, as well, and this one includes a recipe for roasted beets. Seriously.

Here's some live footage to illustrate what you'll see this evening.

The Stranger's Gong Show video

The Stranger hosted a Gong Show style evening at the Croc recently, and they just posted some footage on You Tube.

Caution, there's a serious teabag happening pretty early in this video. And somewhere around the 2:15 mark someone uses the following lyrics in cow-themed rap -- "I'm a mother fucking bovine." Awesome.

Sirens Sister show tonight

Sirens Sister is playing tonight (Tuesday, 4/17) at Chop Suey. So, if you're a fan of dramatic, sweeping rock music a la early U2 and Echo and the Bunnymen and other 1980s favorites, then you should head out. The band is made up of former Vendetta Red dudes, and you can fit four of them in a small boat. :)

Sirens Sister

Monday, April 16, 2007

New West Motels (aka Red Sky) studio documentary

I just came across this footage of New West Motels recording at APE Studios in England.

The Stranger's "Ode To The Comet"

Over on the Stranger's music blog (Line out), Ari Spool has posted an Ode To The Comet.

I've decided to offer my own, in haiku.

Oh, Comet Tavern
So dank and grimey with rock
Feet stick to the floor

Here's one specifically dedicated to trying to take pictures there.

Lighting is so bad.
Photography is useless.
Draw pictures instead.

Finally, one from the perspective of being on stage, performing.

I can't hear myself.
But, that doesn't matter here.
It's rock to the core.

If You're Only Doing One Thing...

I think I'm going to launch a new weekly post called If You're Only Doing One Thing, that will be my show pick of the week. I'm so damn old that I can usually only make it to one show per week, and I figured this would be a good way to recommend a show to others with the same plight (age-driven or otherwise).

So, my One Thing recommendation for the week is:

Friday, April 20 at the The Crocodile Cafe
Red Sky (featuring former members of Swell and New West Motels)
Shake Some Action
Young Sportsmen
Central Services

Why is the the one?
With all due conflict of interest noted (I'm in Shake Some Action), this show might as well be one sponsored by the Powerpop Blog. It's practically a "young guns of Seattle powerpop" show. And what better place to see four up and coming powerpop bands than the venerable Crocodile Cafe. And on a Friday night to top it off!

Shows for week of 4/16

Looking for some rock this week? Here are some recommendations:

Tuesday, 4/17
Ted Leo and the Phamacists at Showbox

Friday, 4/20
Red Sky (former Swell & New West motels), Shake Some Action, Young Sportsmen and Central Services at the Crocodile

Slender Means ep release at Neumos

The Sea Navy is at Vera

Saturday, 4/21
Spook the Horse and Patient Patient at The Comet

Sunday, 4/22
The Lund Bros at Hell's Kitchen (Tacoma)

As always, feel free to let me know of cool shows that I might have overlooked.

Liar's Club... the band that wouldn't die

Actually, the band has long since disbanded. But, the attention the band is getting now, a full 14 years after the release of their "Evolution 9" album, is amusing.

I got this note from Jayson Jarmon of Vanilla:

Scott McPherson (Tiny Volcano) and myself were in the band Liar's Club [blogger's note: not to be confused with the band currently operating under the name Liar's Club here in Seattle] throughout much of the 90's. Well, last week, we were contacted by and told that one of our songs ("Penny Double") was screaming up their pop charts and would be the featured track on Wednesday the 18th of April. Odd indeed since the song is 14 years old from our album "Evolution 9." Well, good things come to those who wait and wait and wait, I suppose.

Apparently the same song had reached #1 on the pop charts on 3/19/03 and, powered by some unknown fate, it has returned.

Check out "Penny Double" yourself by listening to the mp3.

Some Shins videos

Here are a few videos by The Shins. The first is the video for "Australia," and the seoncd is a live performance clip of the same tune from a live show back in February in Lawrence, Kansas.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bloggin' ain't easy.

In recent days I've been reading the new Three Imaginary Girls blog quite a bit (good job on that, by the way), and in doing so it's made me look back at my own blog and realize that blogging is unnecessarily difficult!

Why is it difficult? Because it makes one realize how bands really don't promote themselves as much as you might think. I subscribe to about 75 band myspace blogs, diligently read through myspace bulletins, check for updates on websites, search youtube, go to shows, request promo copies for review, and read other music publications and sites. And darn it if it's not STILL downright hard to find out what's going on with bands.

To some degree I brought this on myself, having given focus to a single genre (for however much I don't stick to it strictly). But, still! One would think bands would talk about themselves more often, at least to the degree that they want others to talk about them.

So, consider this a call to action for all NW powerpop-ish bands out there: Talk to me. Send me your news. Tell me when you have something cool going on. Heck, tell me when you have something that isn't even that cool going on!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Powerpop Night: April 28th lineup

Since it's only two weeks away, I wanted to make the formal annoucment of the line up and venue for the next SPB Powerpop Night. So, here are the particulars:

Saturday, April 28th
Free Show, presented by the Seattle Powerpop Blog
Skylark Cafe in West Seattle, featuring:
The Doll Test
New West Motels
The Scheme

Cool ass promo flyer to be posted this week.

Stream the full record by Shake Some Action

This just came through myspace from James/Shake Some Action:

hi folks,

we've decided to make our complete album available for high quality streaming right from our myspace page, absolutely free!

take a gander at the little flash player on the bottom right of the page. click on a song title and it'll start streaming. all 12 songs are there and they'll stream from beginning to end in glorious 256k MP3 quality.

get into it before we change our minds!

for Seattle friends, mark your calendars for Friday April 20th - we're playing the Crocodile with Red Sky, Young Sportsmen and Central Services. it'll be a show not to be missed for anyone into great indie pop music. the Croc is the best venue in town and this is an awesome bill.

we'll be there - so should you!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sagging readership = salacious gossip

Work has been completely hanging me up recently, and I haven't been posting to the blog as much in the last week or so. As such, readership here has sagged. To inflate my hit numbers (that really have no meaning to anyone), I've decided to post a series of blatant lies masquerading as gossip. Feel free to circulate or post responses as to who you think might fit the bill for a given rumor. ;)

Gossip #1: Rumor has it that a certain vocalist for a certain powerpop group has been cavorting around town with a NYC hipster on his arm. They claim they're only friends, but in fact they were caught making out in the dressing room at Red Light.

Gossip #2: It seems that two of our favorite local powerpop bands came to fisticuffs a few weeks back backstage at the Sunset Tavern. No word on what prompted the scuffle, but I can hypothesize it was ether about beer or whether Tillbrok or Difford was the better songwriter.

Gossip #3: One local powerpop band has said they're throwing in the towel if they don't have a major label contract by the end of 2007.

So, there you have it... all the gossip fit to print.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dept of Energy promo video

The guys of Dept of Energy are the most video saavy bands in town. They put out this little video teaser/ad for their show that is next week at the Croc.

Young Sportsmen disc special

This just came via a myspace blog post. Pay the money for this most excellent release. If you don't own it, you should!!! In fact, you should go to a show of theirs and pay full price. It's worth every penny.


Now, for a limited time at Sonic Boom records on Capital Hill, you can recieve Young Sportsmen's the familiar glow of colliding particles for the low, low price of only five dollars. But you must act now...when the month is up, they will be in the 'free' bin. That's right. Why wait for a month and get a copy for free when you can spend actual money and know, in your beautiful, blood-filled hearts, that you've done the right thing. So walk, don't run, to the Capital Hill store and purchase your copy today. If you trip on the way, an angel gets it's wings. Or the terrorists have already won. I forget.



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Review: Brides of Obscurity's "Extended Play"

The guys of Brides of Obscurity (and don't let the bride reference fool you, they're all dudes) have a new EP out, titled Extended Play. I'm going to give my initial thoughts here as I listen to the record, because I've not yet fully digested the album. I have the sense that it's one of those records that really needs to marinate over time to really achieve its full flavor.

Track 1 - "Bombs Away"
This song opens with a dusty, reverbed-out guitar and a driving bass line and leads quickly into a verse that features a vaguely Dylan-esque delivery. But, that quickly turns into a chorus that manages to be a foreboding warming and a catchy toe-tapper at the same time. There's something very "American" about this song, and it wouldn't sound out of place on, say, a Travelling Wilburys or Tom Petty record.

Track 2 - "Positively Me"
Now this is bouncy little track that would've fit in nicely on the most recent Vanilla CD. By that I mean it mixes organ driven powerpop sounds a la Jellyfish with a "classic rock" approach. And don't cringe when I type the words "classic rock," because I mean it in all the right ways that the word classic should imply.

Track 3 - "Don't Get Me Wrong"
Things get a little more quirky on Track 3. Okay, the vocals just kicked in and I retract my description, it's more in the psychedelic realm than quirky. The main riff and verse of this one has a nice groove, although I could use more drums in the mix. The chorus falls a little flat for me here, but still not a bad tune.

Track 4 - "Told You So"
The Dylan delivery returns a bit on this one. I like the chorus of this one quite a bit. It's catchy and melodic while again sounding classic/familiar without being a rip off of something in particular. This would make a nice soundtrack song, and I dig the "bah bah bah" sing along.

Track 5 - "All Because Of You"
Although it's last in the running order, this might be my favorite tune of the record. It's got a strong Beatles vibe and a great guitar solo. There are children's playground voices sprinkled through the song, and I can't quite figure out why they there... is the song about some one's kid? If so, then it makes more sense. If not, I'm confused. But, that confusion doesn't keep me from appreciating the tune. Great song.

You can hear samples and pick up the disc over at CD Baby. By the way, did I mention there is a naked lady on the cover?

Monday, April 09, 2007

More reviews coming

Just wanted to let folks know I've got a bunch of new CDs to review over the coming days, including discs by the Brides of Obscurity and The Femurs. See, stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, enjoy this moment of silliness:

Review: Kurt Hagardorn's "Ten Singles"

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Kurt Hagardorn's new CD, titled "Ten Singles" when he came up to play the powerpop night at Mars Bars about six weeks ago. I'm only now getting around to doing a review. But, I'd recommend you not be so lax about picking up a copy, because it's a really solid release.

Kurt assembled this album over the course of about eight years, primarily recording whenever inspiration and time would allow. Usually when you pick up an album it reflects a small portion of an artists mindset -- typically a year or so of their songwriting life. The interesting thing here is we get insight into Kurt over a longer period of time.

The results are pretty wide in terms of genre and production value. But, rather than coming across as uneven or inconsistent, it plays as interesting and varied. The perfect example of this is the transition from song one to song two on the disc. The opener, titled "International Travel Advisory" has a Beatles-march feel with a slab of Elephant 6 on the side. Kurt somehow manages to have this song lead comfortably into "You Are My Girl," replete with pedal steel opening and laid back Bakersfield vibe.

And there you have it, a mix of indie/powerpop and Of course, this reflects Kurt's own background, having spent time in both of those worlds (he was in Chapel Hill band Gumption and played guitar for Thad Cockrell).

Of course my favorite tunes are the ones that fall down on the powerpop side of the fence, and songs like "Rock Scissors Paper," "Leanne," and "Last Time Rewind" all fulfill my harmony jones quite well. Interestingly, if you visit Kurt's myspace page, you only hear the quieter, more acoustic side of what he's doing (including a cover of Harry Nilsson's "lifeline."). I'm not sure why none of the more rockin' tunes are represented there.

But, the disc is out now on Bladen County Records, who have some other interesting artists like Montauk Ghosts that are worth hearing.

Blogger's update: You can hear Kurt's more powerpoppin' side by vising the CD Baby site that has the disc for sale. Not sure why I didn't think of that before!!

Shows for week of 4/9

Happy Monday, all. Here's some stuff to do this week:

Monday, April 9
"Mod Night" at Chop Suey, featuring Persiphone's Bees, Lusty, DJ Christo, DJ Mama Casserole and Tangerine Toxic.

Wednesday, April 11
Jim's Big Ego at The Ego & the Oracle (Radio 8 Ball offshoot) at the Lower Level at CHAC

Friday, April 13
Boss Martians, The Fucking Eagles and the Hopscotch Boys at the Sunset Tavern

Young Sportsmen, Patience Please and others at Atlas Clothing

Saturday, April 14
Central Services, Shorthand For Epic, and Patient Patient at Atlas Clothing

The Long Winters, Stars of Track and Field and The Broken West at Showbox

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sirens Sister tour photos, video & show

The folks in Sirens Sister had themselves a tour last month. They just posted photos from the tour, and there are some really nice shots in there. Take a peek.

You can also see some footage of them driving, while one member sings along with the great Cyndi Lauper.

While we're on the subject, they have a show tomorrow night (Friday, 4/6) at the K.T.U.B (Kirkland Teen Union Building). If you're into big, dramatic, sweeping rock music, you should go. I dig what they do quite a bit.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Band links for EC cover night

The Elvis Costello Cover Night really is a great line up. Here are links to some of my favorite bands on the bill. I don't know what order they're taking stage. So, this list is random and includes a few thoughts or comments from me.

Young Sportsmen - Among the most "powerful" powerpop bands in Seattle. Great hooks and lots of rock.

Cantona - Melodic and engaging, if somewhat inconsistent (but only when their bass player doesnt show up!..:)

Central Services - More "pop" than "power" usually, but creative and engaging to watch.

The Capillaries - Difficult for me to pin down. Definately powerpop, but somehow quirky and angular, too. Their page has newly uploaded songs, including one called "Atlanta" that is truly great.

The Sea Navy - Very "welcoming" and downhome, but melodic and fun, too. I like them live more than on record.

Central Services stuff

Central Services is one of the groups on the Elvis Costello cover night bill tonight. I hadn't searched for any youtube clips for them in quite sometime. But, I found this one posted by Ms. Q back in December from a performance down in Olympia.

I should also note while I'm here that they've updated their myspace page and have some downloadable tunes, including two of my faves -- "Tear Me Down" and "Get To You."

Elvis Costello night at the Croc

Tonight the Crocodile Cafe is hosting Elvis Costello Cover Night, featuring a ton of great bands. Since I'm a huge Elvis Costello fan, this makes me happy. I'm going to try to get my lazy arse out to the club for a rare (for me) mid-week rock throwdown.

In tribute to the show, I'm going to post a few things related to both the bands playing the show and Elvis himself this afternoon.

I actually posted this last year, which is some video from the "Decades Rock Live" that was a tribute to Elvis that featured Death Cab (who are not on the bill tonight, to be clear).

There's also some footage available from Death Cab's soundcheck for that show.

More to come later!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Shows for week of 4/2

Holy crap, it's already April! This year is flying by! Here are some shows to see this week:

Wednesday, 3/4
Elvis Costello Cover Night at the Crocodile, featuring Young Sportsmen, Ghosts Stories, the Sea Navy, Cantona, Central Services, The Capillaries and more. I'm all over this show and will be writing a bunch about EC and the bands on this bill.

Pris is at Chop Suey, and they wrote one of my favorite NW pop songs ever - "Doobie Down Down," which you can hear on their myspace page.

Friday, 3/6
Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3, Sean Nelson and His Mortal Enemies at the Crocodile Cafe

Saturday, 3/7
Shake Some Action, Coho, The Hands, The Cops and The Whore Moans at the High Dive (KEXP Audioasis show/benefit)

The Trucks, Speaker Speaker (CD release), and Shorthand For Epic at VERA