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Soundposts

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

Topic: alternative

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May 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM

In the presence of Nothing | Concert preview

Nothing

Nothing, from left: Kyle Kimball, Nick Bassett, Brandon Setta, Domenic Palermo. Photo by Shawn Brackbill.

Nothing’s music video for “Bent Nail” — the second single off its debut, “Guilty of Everything” — dramatizes a familiar scenario for any struggling band.

In the three-minute clip, below, the Philadelphians, who play Barboza Friday, give a spirited performance to a half-empty room of denim-vested, tattooed onlookers, all folded arms and vacant stares.

By the time the song hits its slow, dreamy crescendo, the crowd’s apathy has turned to outright hate, and they begin pelting the foursome with rotten fruit and eggs as they play on.

The video “is to be taken literally,” singer-guitarist Domenic Palermo explains via telephone. “I wanted to try and convey the self-abuse that musicians deal with.”

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, Philadelphia, shoegaze

January 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Ash brings stadium-sized sound to tiny Tractor | Concert preview

Ash

Northern Irishmen Ash have been making music together since 1992. They’ll play Seattle Monday. Photo by Karen McBride.

From sensation to slump to comeback story, Northern Ireland’s Ash has lived many lives since forming in 1992. Remarkably, frontman Tim Wheeler, bass player Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray are still only in their mid-30s. The band kicks off its first U.S. tour in nine years Monday at Ballard’s Tractor Tavern.

Like many groups, Ash began in a small-town garage.

“We were trying to play metal,” Hamilton remembers. “Then, Nirvana came along and showed us you didn’t have to be technically amazing to play your songs. We loosened up, stuck to the melodies, didn’t think about solos as much… just bashed it out.”

Their timing was excellent. Following Nirvana’s left-field success, record execs combed the world’s regional scenes for the Next Big Thing, throwing bands against the wall and seeing which stuck.

Unlike most, Ash stuck.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, rock, Tractor Tavern

November 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM

New York’s Helmet chugs along | Concert preview

Helmet

Helmet — with bandleader Page Hamilton, second from left — performs live at The Crocodile Friday. Photo by Tom Hoppa.

Though often remembered as 1990s staples, Helmet never really went away.

The NYC heavies play The Crocodile Friday.

The focus of a big-label bidding war, the band’s 1993 debut “Meantime” boasted some of the most in-your-face guitar work this side of Rage Against the Machine or Seattle’s TAD, but also fist-pumping choruses to balance out the intensity. Frontman Page Hamilton’s jazz training came through in the songs’ atypical constructs and mathematical drop-D workouts.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, Metal, New York

November 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Three decades in, Meat Puppets still cooking | Concert preview

The Meat Puppets

The current Meat Puppets lineup, from left: Cris Kirkwood, Shandon Sahm, Curt Kirkwood. Photo by Jaime Butler.

Countrified and acid-fried, The Meat Puppets were among the Reagan-era underground’s most unique bands.

And they’re still here.

Thirty-three years strong, the Phoenix natives play Seattle’s Crocodile Thursday.

Co-founded by the Kirkwood brothers – singer-songwriter-guitarist Curt, and bassist Cris — the trio built its name on whimsical, mellowed-out sounds better suited for wide-open expanses than claustrophobic mosh pits.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, Arizona, psychedelic

August 22, 2013 at 2:44 PM

My Bloody Valentine bloodies ears at Showbox SoDo | Concert review

MBV

My Bloody Valentine — Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Colm Ó Cíosóig and Debbie Googe — played Seattle Wednesday.

Nothing about My Bloody Valentine’s sound is compact, so when word came down last week that the Irish-English noise-pop innovators’ upcoming Seattle show had been moved from the airplane hangar-sized WaMu Theater to the much-smaller, much-maligned Showbox SoDo, those who’d pre-purchased tickets let out a collective groan.

That the foursome handily sold out WaMu in 2009, its last trip through town, only to be demoted to a smaller room for this tour — supporting 2013’s “m b v,” its first new LP since 1991’s legendary “Loveless” — suggests that when it comes to reunions, fans get more excited when they don’t know what to expect.

Yet while the surprise factor might’ve been lower Wednesday night, the volume certainly wasn’t.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, dream-pop, shoegaze