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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: rock

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December 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Tune-Yards, armed with more star power, returns to Seattle

Tune-Yard , at Sonos Studio in L.A. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images) Merrill Garbus, who has performed under the band name Tune-Yards since 2009, has risen in five years from quirky club favorite (she last played here at the Crocodile) to major venue star, opening for the likes of Arcade Fire and returning to Seattle to play the…


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Moore Theatre, rock, Tune-Yards

August 18, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Make no mistake, Ed Sheeran is lovable and loud

It’s no surprise that English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is a fan of another English singer-songwriter: Sam Smith. Despite their different musical styles, both come across as earnest and straightforward.

“It’s instilled in English people to always downplay things,” said the 23-year-old singer in a phone interview last week. “We don’t really shout too loud. We quietly get on with what we are doing.”

What Sheeran’s been doing hasn’t been quiet at all. He’ll be especially loud this Thursday when he plays Seattle’s WaMu Theater.

Credit: Ben Watts

Credit: Ben Watts


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Ed Sheeran, feature, interview

January 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Appalachia’s Pontiak guns it on ‘Innocence’ | New recordings


The Virginia band Pontiak. Photo by Lino Brunetti.

(Thrill Jockey)

Pontiak’s Carney brothers — singer-guitarist Van, bassist Jennings and drummer Lain — don’t just share a surname. The hard-hitting, tripped-out sounds they make together suggest they share a brain. And a diligent work ethic — “Innocence,” out Tuesday, is their seventh LP in just eight years.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: psychedelic, rock, Thrill Jockey

January 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

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


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.


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

July 16, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Jimmy Eat World | Concert Review

Jimmy Eat World

Veteran pop-rockers Jimmy Eat World — Tom Linton, Rick Burch, Zach Lind and Jim Adkins — played Seattle Monday. Photo by Michael Elins.

Jimmy Eat World has never been the most complex band, or the hippest, or biggest-selling. Its jangle-pop sound isn’t timeless, or particularly influential. Its output since 2001’s “Bleed American” and its feel-good mega-hit “The Middle” has been a bit, well, middle-of-the-road.

Yet the almost-full room Monday at Seattle’s jumbo-sized Showbox SoDo proved that while the Mesa, Arizona foursome’s commercial peak might have passed, they’re far from forgotten.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Arizona, emo, rock

June 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Concert review: They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants — John Flansburgh, left, and John Linnell — played Seattle Wednesday. Photo by Shervin Lainez.

The shortest path to an early end for an artist is to rest on past success. Comforting as it may be, it leads to stagnation and death.

Tireless veterans They Might Be Giants, who played Showbox SoDo Wednesday, are instead very much alive in their very long career.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: New York, pop, rock

June 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Album review: Jimmy Eat World, “Damage” (RCA)

Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World, from left: bassist Rick Burch, drummer Zach Lind, singer-guitarist Jim Adkins, guitarist Tom Linton. Photo by Michael Elins.

Jimmy Eat World’s eighth full-length “Damage,” out Tuesday, proves even-keeled bands can, and should, stay together.

Initially associated with the late-‘90s emo-core scene (anyone remember The Get Up Kids?), time and context have reserved a relevant place for the Mesa, Arizona foursome’s earnest guitar-pop.

While “Damage” might not have the immediacy or scope of 1996’s bracing “Static Prevails” and 2001’s platinum smash “Bleed American,” its ten songs feature crisp, stripped-down production and some of the group’s better melodies in years.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Arizona, emo, rock

June 1, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Concert review: Foals


Foals — Jack Bevan, Jimmy Smith, Walter Gervers, Yannis Philippakis and Edwin Congreave — sold out the Neptune Friday. The group plays again Saturday. Photo by Steve Gullick.

Friday at the Neptune, Foals demonstrated why they’re a band on the rise.

The quintet hails from Oxford, an English university town with a knack for melodic guitar-rock. It’s where Radiohead, Ride and Supergrass got their start in the ‘90s, and where Foals formed in 2005. Since then, the group’s style has grown from concise, noodly post-punk — danceable, but forgettable — into something more significant.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Oxford, Post-punk, rock

May 28, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Album review: Roomrunner, ‘Ideal Cities’ (Fan Death Records)


Roomrunner, from left: Dan Frome, Denny Bowen, Bret Lanahan, Jeff Byers. Photo by Josh Sisk.

On its smashing debut LP “Ideal Cities,” out Tuesday, Baltimore’s Roomrunner has its way with the ghost of grunge, losing the gloom and machismo while keeping the headbanging riffs, adding triumphant pop hooks, and audibly having a blast.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Baltimore, grunge, punk