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

Topic: Concert Preview

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January 22, 2015 at 2:07 PM

The Vaselines, a Kurt Cobain fave, return to Seattle | Concert preview

There’s an ocean and a continent between Glasgow and Seattle, but the ties between the Vaselines and Northwest music run so deep, the Scottish duo may as well be from here.

Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly, who appear at Neumos Saturday, wrote “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” “Molly’s Lips” and “Son of a Gun” — all recorded by Nirvana. Kurt Cobain even mused about the couple in his journal.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: 'V for Vaselines', Concert Preview, Eugene Kelly

January 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Patti Smith, rock poet on a tear | Concert preview

There are few artists in rock ’n’ roll, particularly ones in their late 60s, who are on quite the tear that Patti Smith has been on the last decade.

She’s put out an acclaimed late-career album (“Banga”), won the National Book Award for her memoir “Just Kids,” continued to publish books of poetry and has been elected to the Rock ’N’ Roll Hall of Fame (in 2007).


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: 'Banga', Concert Preview, Moore Theatre

January 2, 2015 at 5:15 AM

Built to Spill is built to last | Concert preview

By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb
Special to The Seattle Times

Lead singer-songwriter Doug Martsch of Built to Spill, which plays the Showbox Friday and Saturday, Jan. 2-3, approaches live performance with an air of distinguished solemnity.

He doesn’t speak much, except for the occasional “thanks” after he finishes a song. There is often a stack of towels beside him to mop the sweat from his brow. He frequently buoys his earnest singing with an unusual, quavery vibrato, an effect he accentuates by moving his mouth back and forth in front of the microphone, like a nervous tic.

But while Martsch may not be the most animated frontman, Built to Spill has been a key influence since the ’90s on countless rock groups, including Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Built To Spill, Concert Preview, Showbox

January 2, 2015 at 5:02 AM

Mark Hummel takes a flyer with Bluebird Records | Concert preview

If you love Chicago blues, you are no stranger to B.B. King’s “Sweet Little Angel” and Muddy Waters’ “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”

But did you know that these songs, popularized as electric blues in the ’50s, go back to the acoustic ’30s?

Harmonica professor Mark Hummel does, and he’s prepared some soulful lesson plans on the subject for his annual Blues Harmonica Blowout, which hits Jazz Alley next week.


Comments | More in Blues | Topics: Billy Boy Arnold, Blues Harmonica Blowout, Charlie Baty

December 18, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Stephen Newby spreads Duke Ellington’s sacred message | Concert preview

Stephen Michael Newby (2)

Stephen Newby (courtesy of Seattle Pacific University)

Are you a Sounders fan?

If so, you are already familiar with the resonant baritone of Seattle Pacific University composer and professor Stephen Newby, who sings the national anthem at the matches.

On Saturday, Newby applies his talents at a different “pitch,” when he debuts as a soloist for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra’s annual concert of Duke Ellington’s sacred music.


Comments | More in Jazz | Topics: Concert Preview, Duke Ellington, Earshot Jazz

December 12, 2014 at 5:11 AM

Swedish teenage rapper Yung Lean to make Seattle debut | Concert preview

Yung Lean — headlining Neumos with his Sad Boys crew on Thursday, Dec. 18 — is a telling example of just how young, strange and global rap music has become. An 18-year-old Swedish kid whose first exposure to rap was 50 Cent’s 2003 track “Patiently Waiting,” Lean combines futuristic, emotive electronic beats with stream-of-consciousness, alternate-reality raps….


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "Ginseng Strip 2002", Concert Preview, Neumos

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