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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

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April 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Northwest ex-pats Gun Outfit steady their aim | Concert preview

Gun Outfit

Gun Outfit’s Dylan Sharp, above. Photo by Rachel Carr.

While the presence of two distinct songwriters — and absence of a bass player — has defined Gun Outfit since it formed in Olympia in 2006, co-founders Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith changed things up for last year’s “Hard Coming Down” LP, their third, adding low end and harmonizing for the first time. Bassist Anton Seder and drummer Dan Swire round out the lineup; they’ll play Chop Suey Thursday. The four-band bill also includes Brooklyn’s The Men, Olympia’s Moldy Castle and Seattle’s Lures.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Chop Suey, Los Angeles, Olympia

April 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The Afghan Whigs step back into the light | Concert preview

The Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs perform live Tuesday at Seattle’s Showbox club. Photo by Piper Ferguson.

When The Times last spoke with Greg Dulli two years ago, The Afghan Whigs main man teased about the possibility of new material from his revitalized band.

“If there’s something to say later,” he’d said, “I’m sure we’ll say it.”

There was — and they have.

“Do to the Beast,” their first LP since 1998, hits stores Tuesday — with a celebratory Showbox gig that night.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Ohio, Showbox, Sub Pop

April 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Get your Goat | Concert preview


New Sub Pop signees Goat, from Sweden, perform live in Seattle Monday. Photo courtesy of the band.

Among music nerds, it’s a fun exercise: play some friends an ahead-of-its-time record — like Can’s 1971 Krautrock landmark “Tago Mago” or Big Star’s 1972 power-pop blueprint “#1 Record” — and ask what year they think it’s from.

Goat’s “World Music” inverts this game.

Made in 2013 — but sounding pre-digital era — it’s a dizzying amalgam of hypnotic rhythms, childlike vocals, bongos, organ and wah, drawing upon everything from progressive rock to Indian raga and West African guitar music.

The Swedish group inked a Stateside distribution deal with Seattle’s Sub Pop label last month; they’re in town Monday, headlining Neumos.

Enigmatic types to say the least, Goat doesn’t divulge involved parties’ names — but an anonymous member, speaking on the band’s behalf, answered a handful of questions via email.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop, World | Topics: psychedelic, Sub Pop, Sweden

April 12, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Portland’s Mark McGuire a most valuable player | Concert preview

Mark McGuire

Mark McGuire plays Seattle Sunday. Photo by Ken Seeno.

Don’t confuse Mark McGuire with the home run hitter — and admitted steroid user — with the similar name. The Cleveland-born, Portland-based guitarist, headlining Barboza Sunday, is a natural.

The 28-year-old musician creates long, luminous soundscapes using his Fender Lonestar Stratocaster and cadre of time-based effects pedals as both melodic and rhythmic implements.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: experimental, progressive rock, psychedelic

April 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks pave their own way | Concert preview

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

The Jicks, from left: Mike Clark, Jake Morris, Joanna Bolme, Stephen Malkmus. Photo by Leah Nash.

When Pavement broke in with 1992’s “Slanted and Enchanted,” critics coined the term “slacker rock” to describe its underproduced, willfully imperfect sound.

Singer-guitarist Stephen Malkmus has released almost a dozen albums since — with Pavement, then the Jicks, who play The Neptune Saturday — cementing his legacy as a vital, unique American songwriter.

Yet the misnomer persists.

“Maybe it’s the tone of my voice,” he speculates via telephone from his Portland home. “It’s a little defeated, a little sarcastic… sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.”

Indeed, Malkmus talks like he sings, meandering from one subject to another with the slow, deadpan drawl and colorful vocabulary that made him a poster boy of indie rock’s golden era.

Most likely, though, it’s because he’s always made it look easy — and still does.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, Portland, The Neptune

April 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The post-punk pessimism of Protomartyr | New recordings

ProtomartyrProtomartyr, ‘Under Color of Official Right’ (Hardly Art)

Protomartyr hails from Detroit, but its music is a far cry from the garage rock, soul and techno traditions of its once-thriving hometown.

“Under Color of Official Right,” out Tuesday, is the foursome’s first LP for Sub Pop offshoot Hardly Art, and second since forming three years ago. The title refers to extortion by public officials, and along with tracks like “Violence,” “Bad Advice” and “Scum, Rise!”, this is a bleak urban landscape.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Detroit, Hardly Art, New Recordings

April 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Dead Meadow, masters of the vibe | Concert preview

Dead Meadow

Dead Meadow, from L.A. via D.C., plays Seattle Friday. Photo by Aaron Giesel.

Dead Meadow, headlining El Corazon Friday, has been at odds with its surroundings ever since forming in 1998 in Washington, D.C. Back then, dance-punk was king, and the trio’s slow, hazy sound stood out like a loose-fitting drug rug in a crowd of white belts and bad haircuts.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: prog, psychedelic, stoner rock

April 1, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Cloud Nothings enter adulthood | New recordings

Cloud NothingsCloud Nothings, ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ (Carpark)

On 2012’s “Attack on Memory,” Cloud Nothings came off like impressionable young men who heard The Wipers’ Northwest punk classic “Youth of America,” from 1981, and tried to write their own version the same week.

While it sounded amazing — as Steve Albini recordings do — it was an awkward look, like a kid trying on his father’s too-big workclothes.

But “Here and Nowhere Else,” out Tuesday, fits just right. It’s the Cleveland trio’s fourth full-length — and first great one.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Cleveland, indie, New Recordings

March 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The War on Drugs’ retro-futurist rock | Concert preview

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs — with Adam Granduciel, pictured — plays Seattle Friday. Photo by Dusdin Condren.

From songwriting savants (Kurt Vile) to psych-pop troupes (Dr. Dog), punk stalwarts (Pissed Jeans) and noisy newcomers (Purling Hiss), Philadelphia’s music scene — at least from afar — seems to be having a moment.

With their latest, “Lost in the Dream,” The War on Drugs — headlining The Neptune Theatre Friday — continues this impressive run.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, Philadelphia, The Neptune

March 26, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Gloom-punks Weekend keep it cryptic | Concert preview


Weekend — from Brooklyn, via California — plays Barboza in Seattle Thursday. Photo by Eli Marias.

When Weekend first emerged from San Francisco five years ago, its somber, reverb-heavy sound clashed with its West Coast origins.

The trio’s 2010 debut “Sports” didn’t conjure images of lush, green expanses or pastel-hued houses so much as desolate industrial yards, far-flung train stops and dimly-lit backrooms.

It’s appropriate, then, that bassist-vocalist Shaun Durkan, guitarist Kevin Johnson and drummer Abe Pedroza have since relocated to New York. They’ll headline Barboza Thursday in support of their recent second LP, amusingly dubbed “Jinx.”


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barboza, Brooklyn, Post-punk

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