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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: indie

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June 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Guided by Voices back in business | Concert preview

Guided by Voices

Guided by Voices: Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Kevin March. Photo by Matt Davis.

Discovering Guided by Voices means diving headfirst into a catalog of more songs than there are years A.D. — a daunting prospect, perhaps, but a rewarding one.

The Dayton, Ohio indie lifers — known for their concise pop craftsmanship, surrealist lyrical slant, lo-fi production tactics, and sheer output — play Seattle’s Showbox club Sunday.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, Ohio, Showbox at the Market

May 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Lots to love about The Courtneys | Concert preview

The Courtneys

Vancouver’s The Courtneys, from left: Courtney Loove, Sydney Koke, Jen Twynn Payne. Photo by Andrew Volk.

The eponymous 2013 debut from The Courtneys, who headline Barboza Thursday, was an archetypal indie success story — made on a shoestring budget and released on a tiny label (Hockey Dad), reaching an audience through good old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

“It’s taken on a total life of its own,” says singer-drummer Jen Twynn Payne, speaking via Skype from her Vancouver apartment.

As with any great pop record, the best track on “The Courtneys” tends to be whichever one is playing at the moment — tight musicianship matched with tough-but-sweet hooks.

“We have this idea of perfection of a song,” Payne says. “We throw a lot away.”

“All the components have to fit together,” adds bassist Sydney Koke, “and if they don’t, we’ll ditch it.”

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barboza, Canada, indie

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.

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

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.

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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.

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

March 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

For Barsuk’s Yellow Ostrich, space is the place | Concert preview

Yellow Ostrich

The Brooklyn group Yellow Ostrich, pictured, plays a sold-out show at Barboza Saturday. Photo by Shervin Lainez.

An unexpected pleasure of Barsuk Records’ 15th-anniversary concert series last November was catching glimpses of some of the newer stars in the Seattle label’s galaxy.

Initially a Northwest-only concern, Barsuk has expanded its scope in recent years, picking up some opposite-coast talent. Brooklynites Yellow Ostrich’s set of percussive pop was among the fest’s best; they’ll return Saturday for an encore at Barboza. The show is sold out.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barsuk, Brooklyn, indie

March 4, 2014 at 6:00 AM

NYC’s The Men need to chill | New recordings

The Men

The Men, from left: Rich Samis, Nick Chiericozzi, Mark Perro, Ben Greenberg. Photo by Angel Ceballos.

The Men
“Tomorrow’s Hits”
(Sacred Bones)

Who are The Men? Tough to say.

The Brooklynites’ signature sound is their lack of one. Since 2008, they’ve dabbled in belligerent noise, astral psychedelia, streamlined prog, even acoustic folk.

Operating at a clip rarely seen since hardcore punk’s Reagan-era heyday, they’ll issue “Tomorrow’s Hits,” their fourth full-length in as many years, this Tuesday.

Such prolificacy is notable, but is it enough?

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

February 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Chicago’s Bottomless Pit breaks it down | Concert preview

Bottomless Pit

Bottomless Pit, clockwise from left: Andy Cohen, Tim Midyett, Brian Orchard, Chris Manfrin. Photo by Mr. King.

“People, you’ve got to be careful… know not what you do…”

This cautionary line, from Bottomless Pit’s “Dead Man’s Blues,” is one of several off “Hammer of the Gods” — the 2007 debut by the Chicagoan group, which co-headlines The Sunset Tavern in Ballard Saturday with locals Kinski — alluding to singer-guitarists Tim Midyett and Andy Cohen’s late friend and longtime Silkworm bandmate Michael Dahlquist. The drummer died in 2005, when a woman attempting suicide rammed her car into his.

“Hammer” and its 2010 follow-up “Blood Under the Bridge” “were about the experience of losing Michael,” Midyett says. “We didn’t talk to [journalists] for a long time because I didn’t want it to be an off-the-cuff thing. I wanted whatever we said to be very precise.”

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, Post-punk, The Sunset

February 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Good music, bad vibes at Sun Kil Moon show | Concert review

Sun Kil Moon

Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek played Seattle Friday. Photo by Bill Ellison.

“I’m spilling my guts up here and you guys won’t shut up.”

So went one of several tense exchanges between Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek and his audience Friday at The Neptune Theatre.

In contrast to the delicate, vulnerable nature of his songwriting, the San Francisco singer-guitarist’s disposition can be ornery, even caustic.

Friday, however, his ire was warranted.

Before he even played a note, Kozelek was fighting an uphill battle. The venue staff was asleep at the switch, unresponsive to his pleas for more light onstage and more reverb on his nylon-stringed guitar.

Misreading his frustration as contempt, some showgoers started heckling Kozelek, casting a pall of negativity over a night meant to celebrate the 47-year-old artist’s current renaissance.

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Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, San Francisco, The Neptune

February 21, 2014 at 9:45 AM

A Q&A with Sun Kil Moon songsmith Mark Kozelek | Extras

Sun Kil Moon

Mark Kozelek, pictured, performs live as Sun Kil Moon at The Neptune in Seattle this Friday. Photo by Gabriel Shepard.

“Benji,” the devastating new LP from Sun Kil Moon — the pen name of San Francisco’s Mark Kozelek — is an early album-of-the-year contender, and a bold addition to a first-rate catalog. The singer-guitarist plays Seattle’s Neptune Friday — read Soundposts’ preview here.

Kozelek doesn’t grant interviews often, but graciously spoke via email about subjects including songwriting, concert etiquette and the recording process.

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Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, San Francisco, The Neptune

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