Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Review: The Tripwires' "Makes You Look Around"

If you're a more-than-occasional reader of SPB, then you know that one of my favorite Seattle bands is The Tripwires. So, the release of their debut disc, titled Makes You Look Around, is one of the most anticipated of the year for me.

When Jim from Paisley Pop Records sent me a message last week that he was sending me a copy of the disc, the salivation began immediately. Through their website and myspace page I had heard dribs and drabs of the the record, so I was anxious to hear the whole thing top to bottom.

The disc essentially provides much of what you experience with the live show -- catchy melodies, interwoven guitars with varying degrees of twang, and a rootsy sheen to accompany their pop polish. While there are some differences in dynamics and, less frequently, guitar tones than the live act, if you've seen them in person you'll relate immediately to the recordings.

Of course, if you've seen them live you know that this is meant as a strong compliment, because in that setting you get near perfect performances (even when it's in a "rugged-but-right" kind of way).

I must admit there's something about the Tripwires that speaks to me at my core. Perhaps it's because I grew up in the South and cut my musical teeth on a combination of 1950s rock and 1980s "kudzu pop" and roots pop acts like Scruffy The Cat, Right As Rain, Uncle Green, Jason and the Scorchers, REM and Webb Wilder. The Tripwires thread the perfect musical needle for me -- they're as melodic and personal as Big Star, as tunesmithy as The Byrds, and bring as much boogie to the table as Chuck Berry (whose "Tulane" they cover here).

This is a disc that both the powerpop set and the folks should be able to hang their hat on.

With Makes You Look Around, The Tripwires have released an album that should grace any number of top-ten lists for the year. But, bigger still and on a more personal note, I think years from now I'm going to look back on this record in the same way I look back on Scruffy The Cat's Tiny Days or Uncle Green's 15 Dryden -- records that flew under the radar of a lot of a whole lot of people but that I can listen to today and enjoy as much as I did 20 years ago. It's got that kind of staying power.

The Tripwires CD release party is being held at the Tractor Tavern on Friday, November 9 with Seattle powerpop stalwarts the Young Fresh Fellows. It's a show to not miss.

Thriller in Seattle

Did you know there was an effort to have the choreography from Michael Jackson's Thriller performed around the world? It's brought to you by Thrill the World. Here's some footage from the Seattle version.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Records to review

The US Postal Service has been good to me over the past week, as I have several new CDs to review. They include the new disc by The Purrs and the debut from The Tripwires. The latter is the most anticipated CD of the year by yours truly. I'm listening right now and it's killing me. Details to come.

Shows for week of 10/29

Here's some stuff to occupy your evenings for the remainder of "Rocktober."

Wednesday, October 31
Misfits cover night featuring a ton of bands, including Pris, Quadrillion, The Femurs, Sirens Sister, and more.

Thursday, November 1
The Pipettes and the Ladybug Transitor at the Crocodile

Over the weekend there is a ton of music, but nothing I'm jumping out of my shorts about. Anyone else have anything they're dying to see?

Sunday, November 3
Aqueduct and the Sea Navy at the Crocodile.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Late breaking rock show

I hadn't heard about the show previously. But, if you're looking for some rock tonight, Young Sportsmen, Twink the Wonder Kid and Tea Cozies are playing at the Skylark Cafe over in West Seattle.

In related matters, I clicked over to see Not Lame's review of the new Young Sportsmen disc, and they were very complimentary:

Death To Palaces is undeniably catchy and punchy, bursting with huge sing along choruses and a general feeling of youthful enthusiasm high energy, razor sharp guitar riffs and clean vocals. The type of pop we love to begin and end our days with. EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Falsies on Heat video

Starting off the SPB Powerpop Night this Saturday (10/27) at the Sunset Tavern is a group from Japan called Falsies on Heat. They'll be taking the stage at 9pm sharp.

Other than just them being a cool band, the neat thing about having them on the bill is that the show is also the EP release party for Pris, whose new disc is being put out by Japanese label Powerpop Academy. So, it's fitting to have a Japanese band on the bill!

Here's a video for their song "Fat."

Did I mention....

.... that I'm the worst blogger ever? I know I haven't been posting much lately, and for that I apologize. It's been stupidly busy at work, and I have a nasty head cold. I know, "excuses, excuses."

Anyway, there is a ton of halloween related stuff happening this weekend. But, I'm also putting on a really cool powerpop show down at the Sunset Tavern on Saturday night. I hope you all can come join in on the fun.

Here's some video from Curtains For You, who are third on the bill. I have in the past described them as a jazzy New Orleans version of Jellyfish.

Check out this video: Heavens Waiting (Live)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

mp3s from The Broadcast Debut

This Saturday (October 27) at the Sunset Tavern I'm hosting a Powerpop Night featuring Pris, Curtains For You, The Broadcast Debut and Falsies on Heat.

Here are a few mp3s from The Broadcast Debut to whet your appetite:

Brooklyn Bridge

Roller Skating

Monday, October 22, 2007

Shows for week of 10/22

Man, things just go from bad to worse. It's been really busy at work for the past several weeks, and now I've developed this nasty head cold. I'm miserable! But, that doesn't mean I don't have shows to recommend for this week.

Tuesday, October 23
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Quasi, and The Intelligence at Neumo's

Thursday, October 25
The Polyphonic Spree & Rooney at The Showbox

Friday, October 26
The Lights, The Girls, Paper Dolls and Quadrillion (formerly Boy Crush) at the Comet

Saturday, October 27
Seattle Poweprop Blog presents: Falsies on Heat, The Broadcast Debut, Curtains For You and Pris (ep release) at the Sunset Tavern - 9pm!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Funny: Star Wars via Adult Swim

I saw this a while back and just remembered it. Good for a Friday afternoon laugh.

"What the hell is an alumnimum falcon?" Classic.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

TIG show tonight

Head on out to the Crocodile tonight to take in the TIG-sponsored show featuring Tullycraft, Math and Physics Club, and Patience Please. Tullycraft and Patience Please are having their album releases and MaPC hardly ever performs. So, there's plenty reason to go.

Not a lot of "power" on the bill, per se. But, lots of pop. Plus, they have an awfully cute poster for the show!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A good day on Myspace

I got a few myspace friend requests today from interesting bands. So, go check out the following:

The Candystrippers from Portland

Karuna from Seattle

Bashful from Seattle

Good stuff on all three pages.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chris Walla vs. Homeland Security

I was reading the DailyKos at lunch today and I just about spit my Coke Zero onto the computer screen when reading a particular diary entry that was referencing an Mtv News piece that states:

When Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer Chris Walla woke up on Monday, his "To Do" list probably read something like this:

1. Call MTV News to discuss upcoming, long-delayed solo record.
2. Call U.S. Department of Homeland Security to discuss seizure of hard drive containing said long-delayed solo record.
3. Head into town for weekly tuque fitting.

Yes, it seems that recently, Walla's solo record (which has been scheduled to come out at various points over the past, well, four years) took another step toward oblivion when the master hard drive — containing all song files — was confiscated by Homeland Security at the Canadian border, for reasons not abundantly clear, and sent to the department's computer-forensics division for further inspection.

If it sounds like a huge joke, Walla ensures you it isn't.

Apparently they confiscated his computer as it was crossing the border from Canada, and he can't get it back!

And though his song files might have disappeared into a web of government bureaucracy, Walla does still have the tapes containing all his songs, which he's now trying to master and mix on his own in order to have the record out — Lord willin' — in January.

"Luckily, the tapes are Plan B, so while I'm bummed about the whole thing, it could be a whole lot worse," he laughed. "I still get to play music. I mean, I'm not at Guantánamo or anything like that. I mean, my drive might be. They could be water-boarding my drive for all I know."


The Pranks and The Foxx tonight at Sunset

I just noticed that The Pranks are playing tonight at the Sunset Tavern with a rock/pop/glam group from New Mexico called The Foxx.

Now, these guys have a retro sound. Their myspace page sounds like Slade meets ABBA to me. But, the mp3s on their own website have more of the Slade/Sweet side. Here's an mp3 of their song Ready To Go, featuring both folks on vocals. Actually, now that I'm listening more, this tune has a bit of a rocked up Timbuk3 to me vibe for some reason... probably the vocals.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Ventures R&R Hall of Fame nom

I meant to post something about this before, but it slipped my mind. A hearty congratulations to The Ventures (who many people don't even realize were Seattle-based!!) who just received a nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

You can read more about The Ventures on wikipedia or their official site.

The obvious thing to do would be to post something featuring "Wipeout" or "Walk Don't Run." But, here's a video from my favorite tune of theirs, titled "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."

Worst. Blogger. Ever.

I know I haven't been blogging much in the past two weeks. But, as a higher education profession, October represents the busiest time of the year for me. I know, I know. Excuses, excuses. But, there are some things to see and do this week, and I hope to see and/or do at least one of them.

For example, on Saturday, October 20th, Andy Werth will release his fabulous new EP at the High Dive. You should go.

If there are other things happening this week that I should know about. Please add comments to this post!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Young Sportsmen tonight @ the Tractor

Just a heads up that the Young Sportsmen are playing at the Tractor tonight (Friday, October 12) with Dept of Energy and a couple of other bands.

I say without hyperbole that they are one of the best powerpop acts in America right now. The overwhelming majority of Seattle (and the rest of the country for that matter) just doesn't know it yet. But, trust me, they are.

Don't believe me? Here's your homework: Go to the show tonight. Then buy their CD. What's that? You're too broke? Then download the four songs they have available for download on their myspace page. Now, listen to each one twice this weekend. If you can come back here next Friday and tell me that those songs were not stuck in your head for the entire work week, I'll eat my hat.

And I HATE eating hats. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pris new record sells out in Japan... maybe

I gotta say my Japanese is a little rusty.... Okay, truth is I don't read a lick of Japanese. I grew up in East Tennessee! Y'all are lucky I can even speak English!

Using a website translator (which never works, of course), I learn this:

At the power pop academy online shop Pris (プリス) which is in the midst of selling with the benefit attaching "The Kiss OFF"! Some time ago how last one SOLD OUT. Power pop academy online shop guaranty amount ended two days ago it just became sale regardless. You change to only reservation sale to next arrival. When presently 23:25 you order after, dispatch approximately October 10th please note.

In addition the shop front and the other online/being stock to be in the net shop, please ask the one which you hurry with there.

But, as best as I can tell, it appears the new Pris record has sold out in Japan's Powerpop Academy label store. If anyone can give me a better translation of this site, I'll take it!

While I'm on the subject, I'm thrilled to be presenting the official U.S. release party for the new Pris record at the Sunset Tavern on Saturday, October 27. The show also features Falsies on Heat (from Japan), The Broadcast Debut and Curtains For You.

Review: Andy Werth's "Seeing Stars"

At the end of last week Andy Werth sent me a copy of his upcoming new release, an EP titled "Seeing Stars." Much like his first EP ("Back To The Sun" -- I think Andy has a celestial fetish!), it's packed full of bouncy, uplifting pop that hearkens backs to 1970s pop in a lot of ways without feeling dated or kitchy.

The EP opens with "Tower," a horn- and drums-driven track that blares joy from the mountain tops. The song is energetic and upbeat, but Andy has a very relaxed delivery and there are few rough edges. So, what pops to the top are the trumpets and the melody, both of which are entirely catchy.

The disc continues with a cavalcade of bouncy piano and hummable vocals and somewhat frenetic drumming (which would probably be my only critique -- the hi-hats are either mixed too high or the drummer uses a particular rhythm too often, I can't decide which). But, there isn't a throwaway song in the bunch. Unlike many EPs, which seem tossed off to tide folks over until the next full-length, Andy has put five strong songs on this sucker.

The work here occasionally reminds me of relatively-obscure Tennessee songwriter/pianist Seth Timbs (of the Fluid Ounces). But, where Seth tends to see life through shadows, Andy stands fully in the sunlight, basking in the wonder around him.

Andy and his band really present something unique on the Seattle music scene. Although there are certainly bands in an "affinity group" (like Tiny Volcano, Curtains For You and "Awesome") I don't think there is another group doing anything exactly like this. And, they really kick it up a notch live. So, allow me to encourage you to attend their next show, which is happening October 20 at the High Dive, which is serving as the official release party for the new "Seeing Stars" EP.

The Purrs have a song on Californication

This just in via myspace:

Hey Kids,

This coming week on the Showtime series "Californication" The Purrs tune "Loose Talk" will be used as background music. We're not sure when in the show it will happen so be sure to watch the whole thing. It is episode 10 and is entitled "The Devil's Threesome". Sounds good to me...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Iconics do Young Fresh Fellows

Here's another video from The Iconics, the all-star Seattle band that performed at the Market over the summer. This one is is of the Young Fresh Fellows song "Rock and Roll Pest Control" and features lead vocals by Chris Ballew of PUSA.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Review: Roy Loney & the Longshots

Andy Miracle is fast becoming an official SPB correspondent. He beat me to the punch on a review of Roy Loney and the Longshots' new record.

If you don't know Roy Loney, he was a founder of the fabled Flamin Groovies, the mid-60s San Francisco powerpop progenitors. Loney left the group in the early 1970s, before the Groovies released the seminal album "Shake Some Action." His new record features a bevy of Seattle musicians, including Scott McCaughey, Jim and Johnny Sangster, Mark Pickeral, Tad Hutchison, and others.

Here's Andy's review:

Roy Loney and the Longshots’ excellent new album Shake It or Leave It is a party waiting to happen, a trip through rock & roll history and a tragicomic tour de force.

Loney is an ace songwriter and for Shake It or Leave It he and the Longshots, his talented band of Seattle pop/rock luminaries, have crafted a dozen perfect songs full of humor, swagger and keen insight, that range stylistically from the supercharged Chuck Berry riffing of opening track “Baby Du Jour” to the swirling psychedelic shimmer of “Subterranean Waterfalls” a tripped-out ode to the joy of deep, deep massage that sounds like it could have been recorded at Abbey Road Studios sandwiched between session for The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

“The Great Divide” is plaintive, soaring folk-rock replete with chiming, twelve-string guitar and whining organ. Harpsichord and oboe add Baroque touches to the lovely “Hamlet’s Brother, Happy” a comic vignette of Happy, Prince of Denmark. Never heard of him? Well, he liked to keep a low profile.

You can really shake your mop top to “Danger Waves” an infectious Merseybeat number with joyous vocal harmonies that bolster Loney as he struts and boasts of his acts of brash belligerence in the face of danger: “Never been afraid of fire/I can bite down on live wire.” As tough as he may be Loney can’t help but let a woman get the better of him in the effervescent “Miss Val Dupree” which employs that fab Tex-Mex sound The Sir Douglas Quintet concocted shortly after the British invaded Texas back in the mid-Sixties. “Bahdang!”

“Raw Deal” is red-hot rockabilly that self-combusts in a minute nineteen. The song’s title is an apt description of both it’s sound and it’s lyrical content: “Got a raw deal, raw deal baby, baby/Wanna lay right down and bawl baby, baby.” The snotty garage rock of “Don’t Like Nothin’” with its fuzz-toned guitar rave-up courtesy of Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek sounds like the Yardbirds fronted by Mark Lindsey.

Darker themes underlie the party spirit and raucous humor throughout much of Shake It or Leave It. “Looking for the Body” is a rocking metaphysical murder-mystery and the evocative country & (spaghetti) western number “Big Fat Nada” describes the heady liberation that can be achieved by embracing ones own mortality: “I never felt so free/Can’t believe that this is really me.”

A fitting epilogue to this outstanding album, “Hey Now” is pounding, straight ahead rock & roll with lyrics that describe the singers ascension to “Cloud No. 10” where he finds himself an Irish bar and sends his kudos and love back to the boys in the band. Kudos to Roy Loney and the Longshots, long may they rock.

Shows for week of 10/8

I don't know if I've ever recommended so many Chop Suey shows in one week!

Tuesday, October 9
Electric Tape at the Sunset Tavern

Friday, October 12
Bob Mould at Chop Suey

Dept of Energy and Young Sportsmen at the Tractor

The Riffbrokers, Massy Ferguson and North Twin at the Sunset Tavern

Saturday, October 13
Shout Out Louds at Chop Suey

Sunday, October 14
Matt Pond PA at... you guessed it, Chop Suey

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Funny: Frank and Stevie

Classic. Un-PC. Hilarious.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ReverbFest this weekend

The Seattle Weekly is sponsoring "ReverbFest" this weekend (Saturday, October 6) in Ballard at a variety of venues. There are a number of bands on the bill(s) worth checking out.

I have to say, I could not for the life of me find a simple, snapshot version of the weekend's calendar on their website. When I was reading the print version, it was quite simple. But, not so much online. After much ado, I found one.

So, here are my recommendations for how you should spend the day:

4pm at Sonic Boom - The King's English (glammy pop rock)
6pm at Lock 'n' Keel - The Knast (rock with a sneer and a melody)
7pm at The Sunset - Fleet Foxes (melodic swirly americana)
8pm at Sonic Boom - Central Services (pleasant indiepop with moments of grit)
9pm at Conner Byrne - The Tripwires (a twangy, pubrock Big Star)
10pm at Conner Byrne - Shane Tutmarc (Americana from Dolour's main guy)
11pm at The Tractor - Boss Martians (energetic garage powerpop)
Midnight at The Tractor - Girl Trouble (garage rock comin' off the rails)

The Pranks and The Boss Martians tonight

If you head down to the Comet Tavern this evening, you'll see two of my local faves: The Pranks and The Boss Martians.

I won't be joining you, however, as today is my wedding anniversary, and I'm not sure the wifey would be down with rock for the fourth anniversary gift. :)

Here's some footage of The Pranks playing live on 107.7, acoustic style:

Shorthand For Epic hiatus

Hat tip to Three Imaginary Girls for this, since I missed the original myspace bulletin, which read:

If you like the SFE at all, you'd better to come to our High Dive show on Saturday, October 13th.

Here are the reasons you need to come:

1) It is Stormi's birthday and you should buy her drinks and bring her presents.

2) The line up is totally the balls, as the kids would say, as we will be playing right between Ms. Led and The Ruby Doe, which is quite the rock sandwich

3) The aforementioned Ms. Led will be shooting their music video that night, so you have a chance to be captured forever on film ... in the Phantom Zone!!!

4) It is sponsored by Dewar's so cheap whiskey all night! Woot!

5) Last, but definitely not least, it will be our current bass player Larry's last show with the band. It is also, as we found out last night, our current drummer Stormi's last show with the band. As such, we will be going on hiatus for a while to recharge our batteries and figure out how to recalibrate the beast that is SFE. So this will be your last chance to see us play for an indeterminate length of time. Get it while the getting's good.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reviews on the way

Just a heads up that I've got reviews of Andy Werth's new EP and the new Ron Loney disc (that features "The Longshots" as his backup band, which is chock full of Seattle people). Hopefully I can get both reviews up in the next few days... and hopefully work will ease up a bit to give me more energy to do much of anything at all!

No powerpop content: Soapbox derby race

There are some awfully creative people in this city! My friend Joon is the dude in the baby stroller racer who crashes into the wall.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pris releases new record in Japan

Powerpop Academy (or is it officially called OK Powerpop? I can't tell from the website) out of Japan is releasing a new album by Pris tomorrow. Here's the official announcement sent via myspace bulletin:

The new PRIS record is released JAPAN WIDE tomorrow Oct 3rd!!!! and online...

New songs, New artwork, Banners and lots of extras including a downloadable version of "The Assassin" as heard on the upcoming Oct 10th episode of CSI:New York. STAY TUNED.

I'm pleased as punch to be sponsoring the official US release of this record at the Sunset Tavern on Saturday, October 27.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Next SPB Powerpop Night annoucment

You might have already seen the flyer on myspace or over there --->

But, the next SPB Powerpop Night is going to be happening on Saturday, October 27 at the Sunset Tavern. It's a cool line up, featuring:

Pris (ep release party)
Curtains For You
The Broadcast Debut
Falsies on Heat (from Japan)

I'll write a lot more about it as the date draws closer. So, just mark your calendar now!

Shows for week of 10/1

October. Holy crap, it's October.

Wednesday, October 3
Hungry Pines, Mono in VCF, Spectator Sports at the Crocodile

Thursday, October 4
Dept of Energy at EMP (6:30pm, free)

Boss Martians, Flux Capacators, The Pranks at the Comet Tavern

Built to Spill, Camper Van Beethoven at Showbox

Friday, October 5
The Blakes (album release) and The Cops at The Crocodile

The Green Pajamas (album release) at Easy Street Records in West Seattle

Saturday, October 6
The Love Me Nots and the Purrs at Lo-Fi Gallery (Studio 66 is back!)