A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
December 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Who will be the next Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Macklemore?
A new TV program will showcase Seattle’s vibrant music scene each week in front of a live audience. It’s almost like a reality show to find Seattle’s next big thing.
Victory Studios owner and executive producer Conrad Denke and KSTW, The CW11 (Ch. 11), have teamed up to create “Band in Seattle,” which makes its debut at 11 p.m. Dec. 7 on CW11. Featured bands on the first episode are Acid Angels and Big Sur.
Airing in 30-minute segments at 11 p.m. Saturdays, the show will introduce Seattle bands and their music to viewers by going behind the scenes to reveal what makes bands tick and what drives their passion and creativity.
“Seattle fosters music like no other (city) in the world,” Denke says about the new show. “It has an incredible, cooperative spirit, a large number of venues in which bands can perfect their style – and fanatical audiences.
“Seattle in some ways is like Nashville and Austin, two great places for music. But Seattle has the unique quality of continually re-inventing and creating new and great material and performers.
“A new band from (Seattle) will eventually rise up on the national and international scene, something that is inevitable and clearly evidenced from (past) history.”
Victory Studios has constructed a set that recreates the look and feel of a local club, with a capacity for audiences of 80 to 100 people for each taping. The concerts will be taped live using six cameras and recorded on multi-track equipment for editing. Complete concerts can also be viewed on the studio’s website.
The first season includes 13 shows with two bands per show, each performing a 45-minute set in front of a live audience. “Band in Seattle” hopes to expand the number of episodes once primary sponsors sign on.
The next episode on Dec. 14 features Dead Man and Letters From Traffic, followed by The Dolly Rottens and Summer Babes Dec. 21, Funky 2 Death Dec. 28, and Crooked Veils and The Bend Jan. 4. The Jan. 11 episode features Gun and Furniture Girls, followed by Cracker Factory and Something in the Trees Jan. 18, and Van Eps and Mts & Tunnels Jan. 25.
Learn more about the show and fill out an application for free tickets by visiting the official website here.
December 5, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Car windshields were frosty in the Tacoma Dome parking lot Wednesday night, but inside the Dome, ladies were dressed scantily, as if it were summer, and Toronto singer/rapper Drake was loose and animated in a tank top.
“I feel really good tonight,” Drake declared. “I just got a massage — let’s do this!”
He sang and rapped for hours with hardly any banter, muscular arms flapping as tens of thousands of fans screamed for the 27-year-old pop idol.
Early on, Drake said he wouldn’t talk much, that his concert would be about music. He performed often in silhouette in front of a wide, rectangular light display showing color fields. The colors matched his songs’ vibes, and helped the music sink in.
His set list was loaded with hits from his four-year career and great new album, “Nothing Was The Same.” Highlights included “Started From the Bottom,” with its lurching, unstoppable beat paired with a full fireworks display and a moody duet, “From Time,” with singer Jhené Aiko, who was a relaxing presence on stage. Aiko isn’t famous yet, but seems like she will be soon.
December 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM
“Not to sound conceited,” says El Ten Eleven’s Kristian Dunn, “but there’s no one for us to look up to when it comes to instrumentals and looping. We’re the kings.”
Such swagger may seem surprising coming from a guy who writes cerebral, chilled-out songs with no words — but there’s validity to Dunn’s claims. The Los Angeles duo, which performs live at Neumos Friday, has never followed the fleet. (more…)
December 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Hey, I got this fabulous email this morning from a reader named Miles Stanislaw, in response to my article today about the late Seattle organ meister Dave Lewis.
You brought back fabulous memories for this 71 year old white guy with your article about Dave Lewis. Me and a friend or two and sometimes with girl friends were regulars at Birdland at age 17-19. We would get there at about 11. By midnight, pardon the cliché, the joint was truly jumpin’. We would sit in the balcony and listen to the fabulous Dave Lewis music and watch the amazing dancers on the main floor. The evening was helped along by the beverages we brought along to mix with the Birdland served soft drinks. My friends and I were always a tiny minority in the fun loving central district crowd. Birdland was a very exciting and intriguing place all because of Dave Lewis and his spellbinding music. Never been to any place like it since. I hope his grandson is half as successful in providing the thrills and excitement his grandfather gave to me. Please pass this on to the grandson of the greatest musician in Seattle’s history.
December 4, 2013 at 10:19 AM
It was cold, crisp and clear Tuesday afternoon as concertgoers lined up outside KeyArena for Deck the Hall Ball. But indoors it was snowing.
The snow was fake, or course, and confined to a giant video screen. But the flurries were just enough to lend a holiday vibe to 107.7 The End’s annual year-end concert, which featured such hot alternative-rock acts as Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Alt-J and Seattle’s new-folk darlings, The Head and the Heart.
Seattle station KNDD has been staging its Deck the Hall Ball for more than 20 years as a well-stocked concert marathon for faithful listeners. This year’s holiday-themed concert also provided bands with a chance to thank the station, as well as fans, for their support.
The thank-yous came in the form of tight, spirited sets showcasing the bands’ best music. There were no shoe-gazers in this energetic lineup.
December 3, 2013 at 12:54 PM
“Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion”
As an author and documentarian who’s steeped in Memphis music, Robert Gordon is admirably well-suited to write a history of one of the city’s most revered record labels.
And it’s as much a social history as a musical one, as Gordon contrasts Stax’s rise with that of the civil rights movement in Memphis. It made quite a statement to operate a company where whites and blacks freely worked side by side in a city where public swimming pools would be closed so they didn’t have to integrate. When Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records came to Memphis he was forced to meet with Stax representatives in his hotel room, as there were no restaurants where the two races could eat together.
Stax Records, co-founded by brother and sister Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton (the label’s name formed from the first two letters of their last names), tapped into the burgeoning rhythm & blues/soul scene in Memphis, releasing early hits by father-daughter team Rufus and Carla Thomas and Booker T. & the M.G.’s (“Green Onions”).
Stax’s open door policy meant anyone could walk in and make a pitch. When the man who’d driven guitarist Johnny Jenkins to Stax for an audition mentioned that he could sing too, Stewart gave him a chance. The driver was Otis Redding; within a year he’d have his first hit on Stax subsidiary Volt.
Gordon carefully traces the development of the label and the many bumps along the way. Neither Stewart or Axton had much experience in the music industry prior to starting the label. A distribution deal with Atlantic turned out to be a mixed blessing when it was discovered that Atlantic actually owned the company’s master recordings. Redding’s death in a plane crash in 1967 was a huge blow, akin to a death in the family.
Free from Atlantic, Stax rebuilt itself, and there were further hits to come, from Isaac Hayes and the Staples Singers, among others. But, for some, the sense of family was gone. One of the best aspects of Gordon’s book is that you get first hand accounts from all of Stax’s key participants.
The story of Stax is one of triumph and tragedy. And Gordon tells that story with the passion of a fan and the authority of a historian.
December 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Lady Gaga, whose new disc “Artpop” is the No. 1 album in the country, has announced a Seattle date on her “artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball” tour. The continually self-inventing pop star known for her unusual costumes appears May 28 at KeyArena.
The tour begins May 4 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.. Tickets for the Seattle show go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday (800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com). For complete tour and ticket information, visit www.ladygaga.com or www.livenation.com.
December 3, 2013 at 9:56 AM
Britney Spears, ‘Britney Jean’ (RCA/Sony)
Fourteen years ago, Britney Spears sashayed onto the worldwide pop stage as a teen idol, and now is improbably making excellent albums as an adult. She works around her thin voice with production tricks and odd pronunciations (she was always more of a dancer than a singer). She has pulled back from her well-documented drug troubles. She is holding herself together.
“Britney Jean” continues her trend of highly digitized, android-esque pop, though its songs are sadder, more personal, and less sexy than on the oblivion-seeking “Femme Fatale” (2011). The album’s highlight is “Alien,” galloping electronica that is restrained yet heavy, where Britney tattoos the chorus of “not alone / not alone / not alone” until it becomes a mantra, as if she’s trying to internalize it.
The rest of the songs go from hip-hop (“Tik Tik Boom”) to exercise anthems (“Work Bitch”). A song with sister Jamie Lynn (“Chillin’ With You”), in which Britney sings about red wine and Lynn sings about white, adds a personal feel. All in all, it’s a gleaming, bittersweet pop experience.
Other new releases
Cher, “The Lowdown” (Chrome Dreams)
Jake Owen, “Days of Gold” (Sony Nashville/RCA)
Ben Allison, “The Stars Look Very Different Today” (Sonic Camera Records)
December 2, 2013 at 2:11 AM
Crash Kings were supposed to play a Seattle show back in September but they had to cancel, disappointing fans who had waited three years for them to return to the 206. The extra wait proved worthwhile as the Los Angeles power trio laid waste to the Crocodile with a raucous set to close out the holiday weekend.
In some respects rescheduling to a sleepy Sunday night was kind of a bum deal for the band but plenty of people showed up regardless and the Crash Kings did their best to rock away any remaining tryptophan hangover.
The band — brothers Antonio and Michael Beliveau and drummer Tommy Roslak — used the screaming “Dressed To The 9′s” from this year’s “Dark of the Daylight” to announce themselves and immediately got the crowd moving. Lead singer Tony looked like a shaggy version of Nick Miller from Fox’s “New Girl,” sounded like a cross between Adam Levine and Brian Johnson and exuded the swagger of “Iron Man” Tony Stark. There are far worse fates. (more…)
November 29, 2013 at 11:46 AM
In November 1989, Sub Pop Records co-founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman headed to Europe to see how three of the label’s bands — Nirvana, Mudhoney and Tad — were faring on their overseas tours. Fortuitously, Pavitt brought along his Olympus pocket camera to document the trip.
What Pavitt ended up capturing was, he said, “a true turning point in the international stature of the Seattle music scene.” This was two years before Nirvana’s explosive success in the fall of 1991 with the release of its major label debut, “Nevermind.”
Pavitt’s photos first appeared in “Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe 1989,” a self-published e-book that came out last year. The book was then picked up by Brooklyn-based publisher Bazillion Points, which is reissuing it in physical form this month.
Pavitt will read from the book and sign copies at a release party Saturday at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Georgetown. Seattle photographer Charles Peterson will D.J., and prints of Pavitt’s photos will be auctioned, the proceeds benefiting Seattle’s all-ages club The VERA Project.
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