Friday
Jul202018

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival 2018

Douse


“Take me back outside / Clear the wreckage from my mind.” The sounds of Vancouver band Douse opened Timber! Fest early Saturday afternoon like a window. Light and air swirled out from the stage and across the grass-seated crowd. Often an ambient art trio, they were joined by bassist Victoria Spooner that day, creating in an aerated alternative mood together. Their latest LP, The Light In You Has Left, gives me hints of John Frusciante’s instrumental works and lyrics that grip my ribs with nostalgia. Thanks to glossy vocals and laughter between each song, their live set was as relaxing and clean as the soap they sell.


Beverly Crusher

If Douse was like a dip in a wading pool, Beverly Crusher was a Gatorade splash to the face. They writhe and wail about heaps of my favorite things! Drugs, unrequited crushes, spells cast across the chasm of life and death. The crowd woke right tf up for this set as the trio got the audience yeah-yelling along to their songs. I saw young children shimmying, parents snapchatting jam after jam, and a collective hangover sloughing off people who got up to bop around. The whole set was tight musically, and letting-it-all-hang-out attitude-wise. Keep your eyes on these guys.

 

 

Brothers From Another

Why hadn’t I seen this hip hop crew before?! They groove, they grin, they get entire fests going. “This is the part where we pretend we can dance!” “It’s like a family reunion up here!” Every exclamation felt like a celebration of the day, and all they’ve accomplished in their hometown of Seattle and beyond. Some bands feel strange to see in the daylight, as if they only belong in dark venues and basement shows. Not these three. They’d obviously thrive in all the above, but getting to experience them for the first time in pure sunlight felt pretty right. We were all sweating our faces off and it was perfect. It’s a good sign when you want to literally jump into a body of water after a show. (And thanks to the Tolt River running through the campgrounds, that’s exactly what I got to do.)

 

 

Industrial Revelation

Worldly and world class. You know it’s real when you choose to leave your inner tube to catch a concert. Not a fan of jazz? Psshh, listen to this group and you will be. Infectious, funky, full-flavored. The late afternoon haze set in, the sun began to slope, and the four-piece’s instruments elevated minds from the front of the stage to the far edges of Carnation, WA. I first saw this group back in 2015, and still haven’t seen another act quite like them in the Pacific Northwest. If you have, please send me your recommendations! In the meantime, I’m hitting every show of theirs that I can.

 


Naked Giants
Due to other obligations I had back in Seattle, Naked Giants was the last act I could catch Saturday night. But thanks to their spirited, smile-filled set, I was able to leave happy. Like, try watching their music videos without feeling charmed by their goofball antics and love of the PNW arts community. Having released their debut album this spring, it definitely seems like the trio is staying committed to punky meaninglessness and checking their privilege. Good stuff (or should I say SLUFF?) all-around.

As a total Timber! rookie, I was impressed the entire day. The local musicians, variety of activities available, safe-space vibes, and laidback-ness made this the most chill music fest I have ever been to. 10/10 would recommend, especially if you’re into river floats, Rainier beer gardens, and not having to walk ten miles to reach your campsite. See you there next year!

 

Words // photos by AJ Dent

Thursday
Apr262018

Kris Orlowski and Budo - "Astronauts, Divided"

Kris Orlowski has long been known for his striking sincerity and understated song craft. Which is why, in 2016 when he released “Waterski to Texas” with Macklemore producer Budo, it created quite a stir. Was this a transparent attempt to become algorithmically palatable to trigger-happy teens? Was this a name-boosting exercise, a crass commercial media play? Call me cynical but this is the music industry where crass commercial name-boosting exercises are more common than White House indictments.

Then I listened to the song. Orlowski’s understated delivery and Budo’s atmospheric tone collage swelled in harmony, accented beautifully by an Andrew Joslyn string arrangement. So much for educated cynicism, I’m just an asshole.

After a performance at Upstream, a prime time tv sync and some radio play, Orlowski retreated from the public eye while Budo soared to new heights, producing Macklemore’s “Gemini” and touring extensively to support it.

Now, after two years of collaboration, the duo have come back together to release their debut EP “Astronauts, divided”. The creative potential evidenced in “Waterski to Texas” has been refined, Budo’s gift for ethereal texture plays beautifully against Orlowski’s elegant, stirring melodies.  

“I Arrange”, the lead track, sets the tone for all that is to come. Beginning with vocals and a simple piano, the song craftily introduces subtle psychedelic elements before cascading into a thundering climax. “Stormy Weather (feat. Embee)” takes a more contemporary approach, almost entirely electronic with Orlowski singing outside of his comfort zone successfully.

Circling back to the first paragraph, I can now say that Kris Orlowski and Budo created an unlikely collaboration that is likely to be algorithmically palatable to trigger happy teens. It will also likely boost Orlowski’s name ID. But all of that comes about as the result of a genuine experiment that yielded remarkable results. “Astronauts, divided” is a most worthy endeavor.

Kris Orlowski and Budo will be celebrating the release of “Asronauts, divided” this Saturday, April 28th at Barboza. Tickets available at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1661269?utm_source=artist.

 

Words by Patrick Galactic

Monday
Mar122018

Brandi Carlile at Mount Baker Theatre 

If you take away only one thing from this show review, let it be this: you need to see Brandi Carlile live. Right now. Don't wait until the next tour. Go now. It's rare to see an artist and band in such perfect union, and the live show perfectly mixes anthemic rock with soulful ballads. You'll dance, even if you never do. You'll applaud. You'll laugh. Go.

Brandi kicked off her "By the Way I Forgive You" tour in Bellingham, WA at Mount Baker Theatre. A Northwest native, Brandi sold out the show well in advance of its opening, and it quickly became apparent why: to see her perform live is an experience one doesn't forget.

Opening for Brandi was Boston-based Darling Side, a four piece indie folk band. NPR referred to them as an "exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop", and that description is pretty apt. Their set was nearly equal parts engaging the audience with stories about their time in Bellingham as it was music. Both were handled with showmanship and quiet flair, and you'll no doubt be seeing them headline their own tours shortly.

Now, having listened to Brandi Carlile's new album, "By the Way I Forgive You" in advance of the show, I was interested to see how it would translate to a live performance. Halfway through the set, it was obvious this is an album that is meant to be heard live. Playing with "The Twins" on guitar, a drummer, a string ensemble, and a multi instrumentalist, the album is only enhanced by the live format and sounds even better than the record. And that's saying something, because the album itself is a fantastic listening experience.

After a 90 minute performance, playing the album in its entirety as well as a few cuts from older albums, Brandi and her band closed out the show with an acoustic encore, deftly switching gears from rock that brought down the house to intimate, almost coffee-shop volume acoustic. It was beautiful. It was joyous. It was one of the best shows I've seen in years.

For tour dates: http://bytheway.brandicarlile.com/

 

Photos // Words by Alexander Hallet

Monday
Mar052018

Why? at Neumos in Seattle

Yoni Wolf has always been a bit of a genre-defying enigma. You may know him as the front man of the rock band Why?, or you might know him from his work with the now disbanded hip hop group cLOUDDEAD, or as a producer. In whatever musical capacity you're familiar, perhaps you're not yet, one thing is apparent: Yoni is one talented dude.

Why?'s soldout show at Neumos was equal parts acoustic rock concert, sort of rap show, sometimes ambient. The fact that each of the songs blended together more smoothly than they had any right to speaks volumes to the cohesion of Why? as a band, and member's control over their artistry. A show not to be missed.

Catch them on tour now, with dates available at https://whywithaquestionmark.com/

 

 

Photos // Words by Alexander Hallett

Tuesday
Feb202018

Lights (Featured)

Lights is the pseudonym of Valerie Poxleitner - musician, songwriter, and comic book artist extraordinaire. Based out of Canada, she may not be as much of a household name in the States as she would be if she were from, say, LA. Yet, as a recent sold out show at Seattle's Showbox, a decade of touring worldwide, and several million diehard followers across social media can attest, Lights is an artist who has carved her own path through a wholly unique vision and a tireless work ethic.

To be clear, she puts on an incredible show. As of this writing, she's currently in the midst of her We Were Here tour, to which you'd be highly encouraged to attend. Outside of the music itself, Lights has her hands in every creative aspect of her art: from creating a comic book to accompany her latest album, "Skin & Earth", to designing much of her merchandise, to seamlessly transitioning between acoustic guitar, piano, dancing, and playing an instrument out of a gigantic pizza box during her live set.

Her versatility and ability across many artistic disciplines is an anomaly in a sea of singular pop stars, and something which fully deserves your attention.

For tour dates, www.iamlights.com

Photos // Words by Alexander Hallett
Wednesday
Feb072018

Genreless Abomination - A two night event at Substation in Seattle

Live music is one of the healthiest risks you can take. It's a gamble on any given night in a city as culturally and musically diverse as Seattle. Often times the hardest part is choosing which show to see, and thus which show to miss. The Genreless Abomination is a celebration of this multi-faceted gem. Over the course of 2 days 14 bands with a variety of sounds will gather together in one place, along with their supporting communities to celebrate this distinct, vibrant place. Rather than attempting to showcase bands in order of skill level, and popularity, the two nights shows have been curated by music writer Sean Jewell like a mixtape, ranging in moods, sonic experimentation, and styles to create a listening experience different from the average live show.

Music will take place continuously, alternating between two separate stages, mixing sounds and crowds of supporting listeners with the hopes that attendees will come for one thing and discover another. $10 gets you in at the door, every penny you pay goes directly to the bands. 
Here's what you can expect, and here's a Genreless Abomination Compilation album to listen along:
  • Guayaba: Bremerton via Olympia eccentric, personal, and powerful hip-hop force fka Aeon Fux. Guayaba's album Black Trash, White House personifies genrelessness, ranging from hip hop to r&b and spanish folk.
  • Taylar Elizza Beth: all in your feels hip hop & r&b. She writes lyrics and invents character voices in which to rap them, she's so self aware she forgets the crowd is there.
  • Falon Sierra: 2017 R&B queen, and Sound Off! finalist, who we're told will have new material to croon Saturday night.
  • Corespondents: Balkan based big beat bar-of-soap album releasing bazaar of virtuosos, divining psych and surf and dancehall through common electric guitar and not so common vietnames dan bau.
  • Double Or Muffin: Smart like Devo, sexy like Stooges, smart ass Seattle rock. They don't even have an album out yet and don't give a damn if you don't like that. If you've been lucky enough to see them around town then you know, you have to see them at this show.
  • Barry Walker Jr.: Portland based pedal steel player best known as a member of Roselit Bone. His 2017 self-titled album mixed field recordings, folk songs, and a spirit of death. Saturday night he's bringing a full band that may well answer the question "What if Townes Van Zandt had played in The Band".
  • The Salt Riot: Seattle alt-rock power pop power trio led by Julia Vidal, classically educated violinist who has put down the bow and picked up electric guitar. 
  • Wild Lips: Gritty insurgent country verging on Replacements punk from this drum and guitar duo of dudes regarded as "fucking loud".
  • The Crying Shame: Seattle's best kept country and western seven-piece secret. Led by husband and wife Arlan and Lucile, The Crying Shame combines the timeless lyricism one might find in the Smithsonian Archive, with the disheveled, disillusioned rock of Old 97's early aughts good alt-country.
  • Roselit Bone: "Like Marty Robbins meets The Cramps, or a Goblin sountrack to a spaghetti western, ranchero fantasy meets greased up country in a magical reality", wear your leathers, and dose accordingly, this huge, haunting band will play the vihuela at the apocalypse, also known as the closing of The Genreless Abomination on Saturday night.
  • Ben Zar: We are so stoked to have the improvised Guadalajaran exotica of Ben Zar on tour all the way from Mexico. He's played with locals like Correspondents and Ben Von Wildenhaus before, and as a bonus members of Bainbridge drone-age heavy-hippies WEEED will be joining him in the band.

 

Day 1 Details

Day 2 Details

 Words by Sean Jewell

Monday
Jan222018

K.Flay at the Showbox - Seattle

Fresh off her recent double Grammy nominations (for best rock song and best engineered album), K.Flay packed the Showbox in Seattle to capacity. Backed by a three man band, Flay put on an exceedingly energetic show.

The music was killer, and over the course of an hour and 15 minutes, spanned an ever growing catalog of hits. Blood in the Cut and Cops were two standouts, but the entire set of buttoned down, brutally honest tracks flowed together seamlessly.

All that's to say, the show would've been great based on the merits of the music alone, even if she decided just to stand still and sing. But it was clear she came to put on a show, as evidenced by her jumping off various heights of the stage, enthusiastically inviting two women on stage (resulting in a proposal!), and otherwise controlling the crowd like an absolute boss.

If you haven't heard of K.Flay, no doubt you will soon, as her star continues to climb at a breakneck pace. And if you have, well, you know that you need to see her in concert. Right now.

For more info, dates, and tickets, visit www.kflay.com

 

Photos // Words by Alexander Hallett

Thursday
Jan042018

Gill Landry - Visible Voice Session 

Louisiana-born singer-songwriter Gill Landry swept into Seattle gracing the stage at Showbox in support of his latest release, “Love Rides a Dark Horse”. Road-worn and introspective as ever, Landry’s latest crop of songs fuse the traditional ornamentation of country and folk with the kind of personal, penetrating poetry that propelled Landry into the national conversation.

Written in the wake of a torturous break-up and his departure from Old Crow Medicine Show, “Love Rides a Dark Horse” is, in Landry’s words, “a map out of the darkness rather than an invitation to it”. As often happens, despair is a blessed motivator of artistic invention and Landry’s depths are no exception.

Brutally frank, with flourishes of romantic whimsy, “Love Rides a Dark Horse” is a voyage through a dark night of the soul. In standout track “Berlin”, Landry sings, “Sometimes the darkest moments can be treasures”. It is the perfect summation of this album…a treasure trove of dark moments.

Gill met up with us before his show in the most intimate setting yet... That's right, sitting on the toilet. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Words by Patrick Galactic

Video by John Theroux

Friday
Dec152017

Cloud Person - Caligula

Caligula was a Roman Emperor notorious for cruelty and sadism before being brutally killed. Unless I’ve missed something, Seattle sextet Cloud Person are not known for these things. But their new EP “Caligula” is sure to destroy any preconceptions of who they are. With just two songs, “Caligula” and “Get Me Out of This City”, it still clocks in at 12 minutes, every one of them intense and undeniably epic.

I hate indulgent rock wank-ery. I don’t want to listen to jerk-off theory nerds try to recreate Bach without paying an orchestra. With their respective runtimes of 7:25 and 5:13 respectively, it would be easy to assume that these songs are of some similar indulgent ilk. That is, somehow, not the case at all.

“Caligula” starts off quick and dirty, with Pixies-esque fuzz guitar, a soaring bass line and textural synths laying down a rapid-fire rhythm that will get the rock kids jumping around and the smoother, classy types shaking their hips. Cloud Person's hallmark is immaculate composition. Through several tempo changes and tonal shifts, the song maintains emotional immediacy with no fluff to scrape off. It is a movie of a song, a journey that ebbs and flows and ends with the hero standing tall.

"Get Me Out of This City" has a laid-back, bluesy groove. Chugging guitars and bass are embellished with beautiful, Doors-y piano melodies. The tonal shifts are less dramatic than "Caligula" but no less effective. Tasteful psych guitar breaks are interspersed with equally tasteful harmonica interludes to create a vibe I enjoyed best while driving. Weed wouldn't make it less enjoyable, if you're into it. But don't drive and weed. DO NOT drive and weed. Choose.

Cloud Person's anchor, and the one thing that has remained constant throughout their history, is Pete Jordan's vocal and lyrical narrative. If there is an indulgence Jordan partakes in, it is of the emotional kind. “It’s going tonight, the feeling of the state isn’t right,” Jordan intones in “Caligula”, “They tell you to embrace the doubt again. Oh, it’s a lie. Regress to abide.” This strain of impassioned cynicism, full-throated despair, is that of a true believer raging against the tide of apathetic malaise.

The criteria for greatness in today’s industry model is very different than before. Heart often falls far below aesthetic in terms of marketability. Cloud Person’s aesthetic is both retro and thoroughly modern. They have mastered dynamic composition. But it is their heart, laid bare with everything on the line, that distinguishes them from their peers.

Words by Patrick Galactic