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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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You are currently viewing all posts written by Gillian G. Gaar.

November 30, 2014 at 2:32 PM

‘Sub Pop USA’ book release party celebrates the independent music scene of the 1980s

Calvin Johnson performs at the book release party for Bruce Pavitt's "Sub Pop USA," as Pavitt, at left, looks on. (Photo by Gillian G. Gaar)

Calvin Johnson performs at the book release party for Bruce Pavitt’s “Sub Pop USA,” as Pavitt, at left, looks on. (Photo by Gillian G. Gaar)

Bruce Pavitt’s latest book, “Sub Pop USA: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology, 1980-1988,” collects his writings about the independent music scene of the 1980s (focusing on the music coming out of the Pacific Northwest in particular). And a number of music industry veterans of the era braved freezing temperatures to crowd into Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery for the book’s release party last night.

 

Pavitt was naturally on hand, still sporting his VIP wristband from Friday night’s Foo Fighters’ gig at the Showbox. Calvin Johnson, co-founder of Olympia-based label K Records, was there spinning records. “Seattle Times” contributor Charles Cross, former editor of the now defunct Seattle music paper “The Rocket,” was also in attendance.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Bruce Pavitt, Calvin Johnson, Fantagraphics Bookstore

November 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Foo Fighters’ ‘Sonic Highway’ takes them to Seattle’s Showbox | Concert review

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl at the Showbox, November 28, 2014; guitarist Pat Smear to his left. (Photo by Gillian G. Gaar)

Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl at the Showbox, November 28, 2014; guitarist Pat Smear to his left. (Photo by Gillian G. Gaar)

Foo Fighters thrilled a packed Showbox audience with a three-hour show last night that dug deep into the band’s catalog and served up some entertaining and unexpected covers as well.

 

The band has been doing a series of small-scale shows in the cities featured in the Dave Grohl-directed HBO series “Sonic Highways.” The series’ seventh episode, which also aired last night, focused on Seattle; the audience was treated to a screening of the program before Foo Fighters took the stage.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters, live reviews

November 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Dave Grohl’s ‘Sonic Highways’ Seattle-area stop ‘feels like home’

photo by Kevin Mazur_CLP0082

Dave Grohl, left, Butch Vig and James Brown at Robert Lang Studios, in Shoreline (Kevin Mazur)

It was inevitable Dave Grohl would pencil in a return visit to the Seattle area as part of his new “Sonic Highways” project. The HBO series follows Grohl’s band, Foo Fighters, around the U.S. as the group records its new album of the same name in eight different cities.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "Sonic Highways", Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters

November 11, 2014 at 5:05 AM

Foo Fighters’ ‘Sonic Highways’ goes down same old road | New Recordings

Foo Fighters, ‘Sonic Highways’ (RCA) Foo Fighters’ new album is a soundtrack of sorts, its title taken from the HBO series of the same name, which follows the band around the U.S. as they record each of the album’s tracks in a different city (including Seattle). It’s a robust record, packed with the kind of hard rocking…

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "Sonic Highways", Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters

October 17, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Previously unreleased Sleater-Kinney song in new box set | Record preview

Sleater-Kinney's box set contains the first new song from the band in nine years.  (Sub Pop Records)

Sleater-Kinney’s box set contains the first new song from the band in nine years. (Sub Pop Records)

It’s the ten-second music clip that’s rocking the Internet today — at least if you’re a fan of Sleater-Kinney, who went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2006.

 

Now, early recipients of the Pacific Northwest act’s box set, “Start Together” (due to be released by Sub Pop next Tuesday, October 21 — though the physical box set is actually already sold out), found that the set included a surprise: a seven-inch one-sided single with a previously unreleased song by the band, believed to be called “Bury Our Friends.” A ten-second clip of the song has been posted on Stereogum.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: New releases, Sleater-Kinney, Sub Pop

September 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Elton John delights KeyArena crowd with hours of hits | Concert review

Elton John served up hit after hit in his show at KeyArena Saturday night, to the clear delight of the audience. The nearly three-hour performance drew heavily from his landmark 1973 album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (reissued in a lavish box set earlier this year). John’s set kicked off with the dramatic medley that opens the…

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Elton John, KeyArena

September 23, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Krist Novoselic returns to Aberdeen for Nirvana mural dedication

Krist Novoselic greets Nirvana's first drummer, Aaron Burckhard, at a reception for a new Nirvana-themed mural in Aberdeen (Gillian G. Gaar)

Krist Novoselic greets Nirvana’s first drummer, Aaron Burckhard, at a reception for a new Nirvana-themed mural in Aberdeen (Gillian G. Gaar)

Aberdeen was alive with the sights and sounds of Nirvana this past Saturday, September 20, when a dedication was held for a new mural honoring the alternative rock band: “Nirvana and Aberdeen.”

 

The rock band Gebular could be heard working its way through covers of Nirvana tunes like “School” and “Heart-Shaped Box” on a makeshift stage set up next to the now-closed D&R Theatre (where Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic made one of his first public appearances, guesting with the Melvins). Aberdeen mayor Bill Simpson could seen in the beer garden in front of GH Wine Sellars, listening as Black Top Demon played Nirvana’s “Aneurysm.” And Novoselic met up with Nirvana’s very first drummer, Aaron Burckhard, at a private reception held before the dedication.

 

Erik Sandgren, a professor of fine arts and humanities at Grays Harbor College, was the lead artist on “Nirvana and Aberdeen,” with assistance from Anthony James Cotham, Dominic Senibaldi, Jason Sobottka, and David Wall. The mural is located on side of Moore’s Interiors, a flooring and carpet installation business located on the corner of W. Wishkah and S. Broadway in downtown Aberdeen. It mural depicts not only Nirvana, but also namechecks other bands with ties to the ’90s alternative rock scene, like Soundgarden and Bikini Kill.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Aaron Burkhard, Aberdeen, Erik Sandgren

September 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Sleater-Kinney returns with new box set

Something to celebrate: a new box set from Sleater-Kinney (Sub Pop Records)

Something to celebrate: a new box set from Sleater-Kinney (Sub Pop Records)

Sleater-Kinney, the acclaimed Pacific Northwest indie trio hailed as the “Best Band in America” by “Time” magazine in 2001, left many fans disappointed when they went on what was called “indefinite hiatus” in 2006. There’s been no word of any reunion as yet. But today it was announced that a box set of the group’s recordings, “Start Together” is on its way.

 

All seven of Sleater-Kinney’s albums — “Sleater-Kinney,” “Call the Doctor,” “Dig Me Out,” “The Hot Rock,” “All Hands On the Bad One,” “One Beat,” and “The Woods — have been remastered for the set, which will be released on October 21 by Sub Pop. Along with standard vinyl and CD versions, there’s also a nifty limited edition box (in a run of only 3000) featuring the albums on colored vinyl, an accompanying book with previously unreleased photos, and a limited edition print. Digital editions of the albums went on sale today, September 2, at iTunes, Amazon, and Sub Pop’s Mega Mart.

 

Fans will be disappointed that the set contains no bonus material. But the remastering does provide a new listening experience. “For such ferocious music, it was actually a very delicate process,” Greg Calbi, who remastered the albums at Sterling Sound in New York City, said in a press release. “I found, in dealing with one of the earlier albums, that my signal path and compression, including my Burl B2 convertor, gave me a more resonant, deeper sound on the guitars than the originals. Because the band rarely, if ever, used bass, I felt that this added to the aggressiveness and power of the band overall. I believe this treatment added a subtle, yet important, dimension to the band, and I explored each of the other albums with the same intention.”

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss

September 2, 2014 at 5:00 AM

‘No Seattle’ highlights lesser known NW rock acts | Record preview

"No Seattle" documents the great variety of the NW's indie music scene (photo: Soul Jazz Records)

“No Seattle” documents the great variety of the NW’s indie music scene (photo: Soul Jazz Records)

The grunge boom of the ’90s didn’t happen in a vacuum. Before the world had heard of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, Northwest clubs were ringing to the sounds of acts like Hitting Birth, Vampire Lezbos, Chemistry Set, and Thrillerhammer.

 

Clark Humphrey’s “Loser: The Real Seattle Music Story” and Mark Yarm’s oral history “Everybody Loves Our Town” were among the few books that put the grunge scene in this wider context. Now comes the audio equivalent, “No Seattle: Forgotten Sounds of the North-West Grunge Era 1986-97,” set for release September 9, in CD, vinyl, and digital formats.

 

The compilation features 23 different bands, largely unknown today but featuring a fair number of familiar names in the lineups. The Ones featured Jack Endino on bass, before Endino became Sub Pop’s go-to producer for the burgeoning Seattle music scene. When Bundle of Hiss went their separate ways, drummer Dan Peters joined (and still plays with) Mudhoney, while bassist Kurt Danielson took up with the heavyweight TAD. And after her tenure in Kill Sybil, drummer Patty Schemel became the drummer for Hole.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Nick Soulsby, Nirvana, Northwest rock

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