Monday
Feb102014

Augustines - at Neumos - Seattle, WA

As anyone whose ever heard Augustines would expect, the band was write-home-about-it epic at Neumos this past Fridaynight. Riding high on the February 2nd release of Augustines, their sophomore album that's already winning critical acclaim, they absolutely beamed through their entire set.  Despite being based in Brooklyn, the trio lived in Seattle during summer 2013 to practice this very record, so this wasno   ordinary show, either. The sold-out venue was packed to the gills with fans and friends whom they frequently called out or pointed at throughout the show.

From soaring triumphantly through "Cruel City" to drawing silent reverence from the crowd during an acoustic "Now You Are Free," his gravely voice cemented the evening as unforgettable. Drummer Rob Allen, keyboardist and bass player Eric Sanderson, and McCarthy refused to rush through their songs and instead let the event play out with extra emotion and impact. McCarthy's grief-filled facial expressions, Sanderson's core-cutting piano chords, and Allen's take-it-out-on-the-drums delivery were simply stunning.  Yet for all the glimpses of their anguish, ninety percent of the night was spent with them bounding across the stage, looking utterly filled with glee.

Wrapping up the celebration with whiskey shots, the guys again expressed their gratitude for the crowd and all their supporters with clear authenticity. And man, was the feeling mutual.

Words // Photos by: AJ Dent

 

 

Friday
Feb072014

Sasquatch Launch Party 2014 - Neptune Theater

Yup! You heard right, the Sasquatch Music Festival is TWO weekends this year! The official launch party set it off in the right fashion with some pretty sweet bands such as the Cold War Kids, St. Lucia, Sir Sly, and Derek & Pete (from The Cave Singers). The pace has been set for what is going to be an insanely packed double down! Take some time out of your day to read this line up (X2)!

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND LINEUP (May 23-25)

Outkast The National / Queens of the Stone Age / M.I.A. / Foster the People / Kid Cudi / Haim / Neko Case / Foals / Major Lazer / Cut Copy / Die Antwoord / Elbow / Violent / Femmes / The Naked And Famous / Cage The Elephant / Mogwai / Tyler, the Creator / Chance The Rapper / Portugal. The Man / Rudimental / Boys Noize / Gesaffelstein / Cold War Kids / City and Colour / Phantogram / First Aid Kit / Tune-Yards / Yelle / AlunaGeorge / Panda Bear / Phosphorescent / Bob Mould / Washed Out / Band of/ Skulls / Austra / Parquet Courts / Damien Jurado / Deafheaven / Big Freedia / Classixx / Black Joe Lewis / Liars / Tourist / Ryan Hemsworth / Tokimonsta / Chet Faker / Banks / The Dodos / The Lonely Forest / Lucius / Hozier / The Stepkids / Half Moon Run / Little Green Cars / Crystal Fighters / Houndmouth / Cloud Control / Jonathan Wilson / Waxahatchee / Foy Vance / Mary Lambert / Willy Mason / Papa / Shakey Graves / The Growlers / Syd Arthur / Cowboy and Indian / White Sea / Rathborne / Pink Mountaintops / The Physics / Radiation City / La Luz / The Bright Light Social Hour / Big Scary / Modern Kin / Tacocat / Raz Simone / Sam Lachow / Gifted Gab / Hobosexual / The Grizzled Mighty / Fly Moon Royalty / The Flavr Blue / Deap Vally

 FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND LINEUP (July 4-6)

Soundgarden / Kraftwerk (3D) / New Order / Röyksopp + Robyn / Neutral Milk Hotel / Spoon / Broken Bells / Tegan and Sara / Local Natives / La Roux / Gogol Bordello / Jake Bugg / Atmosphere / Rhye / The Bloody Beetroots / Dillon Francis / Big Gigantic / The Black Angels / Deltron 3030 / The Horrors / Junip / The Notwist / St. Lucia / Kurt Vile & the Violators / Dr. Dog / Talib Kweli / Of Montreal / The Cave Singers / Punch Brothers / Action Bronson / Lee Fields & The Expressions / Sharon Van Etten / Carolina Chocolate Drops / Sol / Casey Veggies / RL Grime / Tchami / Audion / Fuck Buttons / Courtney Barnett / Thao & The Get Down Stay Down / Cloud Nothings / Foxygen / Palma Violets / Mikal Cronin / Mac DeMarco / Jon Hopkins / Gold Panda / Majical Cloudz / Duke Dumont / Oneohtrix Point Never / Death / Black Prairie / Latyrx / Metz / John Grant / Reigning Sound / Black Milk / Typhoon / Cass McCombs / Young & Sick / No / Boy & Bear / Ásgeir / Wild Cub / Gangstagrass / Phox / Ages and Ages / The Districts / Mimicking Birds / Chad VanGaalen / Shelby Earl / Hunter Hunted / Fly Golden Eagle / Sandrider / Helms Alee / Night Beats / Chastity Belt / Dude York / Iska Dhaaf / Kithkin / Pollens / Plus 4th of July Fireworks

Derek & Pete (from The Cave Singers)

Sir Sly 

St. Lucia

The Milk Carton Kids


Tuesday
Feb042014

Augustines: Interviewed 

Like an unexpected storm in the night, New York-based band Augustines made immense waves with its 2011 debut album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships. Comprised of Billy McCarthy, Rob Allen and Eric Sanderson, the Brooklyn-based band formed in the wake of a multitude of personal struggles and familial tragedies.  From the crafting of their first album to riding the waves of its chart-topping success, these three have become the definition of finding both solace and strength in creating art.

Thanks to the release of their sophomore album, Augustines, set for Tuesday, February 4th, the world will soon get to experience more of their dignified, glory-filled, sock-you-in-the-feels rock.  From the sounds of its first two singles -- the African-inspired sunburst of "Cruel City", and the ultra-gratifying "Nothing To Lose But Your Head" -- their triumphant messages will soar through a more upbeat sound overall.

 If you haven't done so yet, pick up your tickets now to see the guys go nuts at their upcoming concert at Neumos this Friday, February 7th.  Drummer Rob Allen graciously let me drill him for some exciting info regarding this current tour, the group's new goals, and his favorite Seattle spots.  As evidenced by his enthusiasm, their show promises to be an energetic engagement with indie rock that resonates.

 

Interview with Augustines:

The success of your debut album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, seems symbolic of your emergence from the immense emotional issues that inspired it.  What are the influences behind your upcoming sophomore album, Augustines?

 The subject matter for Rise was obviously very serious and real and that’s what was going on at the time of writing that particular record. We are loving, fun people and believe me when I say that these kind of events are not any that anyone would want to have to go through.

 But they did. We then had to tour the record and sing and play these songs on a nightly basis and talk about the subjects on a daily basis. If i’m honest, that was tough for us all, especially for Bill and Eric. The amazing thing about it all, was that people were able to connect with Rise on a real deep level, and that was communicated to us via countless emails and conversations. That evolved into audiences singing these lyrics back to us night after night. What started off as a project telling a story of real-life heartbreak and tragedy, grew into something very positive.

 There was no way that we could ever write another Rise, though what we could do and did, was turn the positive energy we had received and channel it into the new material. This new record touches on real life issues, but more so in the way of hope and survival and where we can go from here.

  

While the first single off Augustines, “Cruel City”, seems to pertain to a struggle, its tone is more upbeat than much of your previous work.  Does this vibe flow through the rest of the album as well, or how would you describe the record’s overall feel?

 Absolutely. We worked very hard on this record. sonically, compositionally and lyrically.  We wanted to move on from Rise though keeping true to our fundamental beliefs. We took what was learnt from Rise and our experiences as a whole and tried to take this new record to the next level. I believe we did that. In my opinion this record is hopeful and uplifting throughout, both musically and lyrically.

 When people get to enjoy the new album on its February 4th release, what would you recommend as the ideal setting in which to experience it straight through for the first time?

 If it was me, I would find a quiet and peaceful setting, wherever that is for you, and listen to it on headphones. If you give it an honest run, I think you’ll agree that this is a great piece of art.  I’m not trying to sound cocky or arrogant in anyway, I’m just proud of what we achieved.

 You’ve been known to hit the ground running when it comes to touring for extensive periods of time.  What are some of your tricks and tips -- activities, musical listening choices, etc. -- for staying healthy, happy and sane during your rigorous schedule?

 Touring life is interesting. It’s certainly unpredictable. Every day is different but luckily for me, I’m playing with guys I consider family who are extremely talented and beautiful people. Top of the list is honesty, and being able to communicate fully with your bandmates and crew. If you don’t have that, it’s already an uphill battle. Everyone is different, and so are their needs and comforts, so we try to make sure everyone gets what they need.

 As for the van/bus, we DJ, tell stories…. sometimes we read…. and there is always work to be done. The hardest thing for me, is eating healthy and keeping a high level of fitness while touring. I haven’t fully figured that one out yet but life is to learn, so I’ll get there eventually.

  You have received a solid amount of support in Seattle, including from John Richards of KEXP.  While you were stationed in Seattle last summer, there was word going around that you may be relocating from the Big Apple to the Emerald City permanently.  Did that rumor have any merit?

 Just to be clear, we never relocated, we simply moved out there for the summer.  We needed a place to rehearse the record, and our label was out there so it seemed like a no brainer.  Seattle is a great city but we are still based in NYC.  Having the kind of support we have from John and KEXP is just remarkable. We have a lot to thank them for.

 

  Do you have a favorite venue to play in Seattle?  How about a favorite coffee shop or dive bar to visit?

 I like the Crocodile and the Showbox Market. Those are two great venues. As for a cool hangout, my favorite place is Cafe Pettirosso in Capitol Hill. Great food, great coffee, great people and a wonderful vibe.

Have any shifts taken place in your creative goals from your first album through this new chapter?  

 Yes.  We are ambitious people, so in anything we do, we always put in 110%.  We always try to better ourselves and push ourselves to improve.  We love culture and learning as a whole, so naturally we will evolve as people, and that will no doubt influence what we do creatively.

 

Despite the dark topics found on Rise, your live shows consistently exude positive energy and passion.  What can fans expect on your tour this time around?

 


Much of the same to be honest. The best way to find out is to come to a show. We’ll see you down the front!

Words by AJ Dent

Photo by BB Gun Press

Saturday
Feb012014

Brown Bird (Dave Lamb) Update

Things were going well for Dave Lamb, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist of rising folk-rock band Brown Bird. That is until chronic fatigue and illness warranted a trip to the hospital. Turns out Lamb had leukemia. Without health insurance, as well as without any income from shows, put Lamb in a hard spot.

Hear his story and his advice in this video from HeadCount. The non-profit is working directly with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist musicians seeking information about health insurance, and telling the stories of ones like Lamb.

As for Lamb, he's steadily recovering and encouraging others to understand the importance of having health insurance.

"As a full time artist, a lot of times you don't have the money to see a doctor regularly," Lamb laments. "Now there are so many changes I would encourage others to definitely at least go out and see what it would cost them to get their health insurance."

Follow the band's progress and consider making a donation of support at the band's website, BrownBird.net

Words by Brian Hodge

Monday
Jan202014

Pickwick - at the Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA 

When you hear the band Pickwick you are not sure what genre you are listening to but you know you like it. Their lush soulfulness and dance/rock awesome-sauce sounds keep you moving even when you don't realize it. From above the room, the dancing made the Troubadour look like a beating heart getting ready to burst. This Seattle based band is touring the country hard in a beast of a van but cranking out tour bus quality performance. Look out for them in a city near you!

Feb 11 The Belmont Austin, TX Tickets

Feb 13 Iron City Birmingham, AL Tickets 

Feb 14 Bijou Theatre Knoxville, TN Tickets 

Feb 15 Visulite Theatre Charlotte, NC Tickets 

Feb 17 Strange Matter Richmond, VA Tickets 

Feb 18 9:30 Club Washington, DC Tickets 

Feb 19 Irving Plaza Powered By Klipsch Audio New York, NY Tickets 

Feb 20 Rex Theater Pittsburgh, PA Tickets 

Feb 21 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH Tickets 

Feb 22 Pyramid Scheme Grand Rapids, MI Tickets 

Feb 24 The Bishop Bloomington, IN Tickets 

Feb 25 Highdive Champaign, IL Tickets 

Feb 26 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI Tickets 

Feb 27 Vaudeville Mews Des Moines, IA Tickets 

Feb 28 Knuckleheads Saloon Kansas City, MO Tickets


Friday
Jan172014

Surfer Blood - Sunset Tavern - Seattle - 1/4/14 & 1/10/14

For all the grit and guts conjured up by Surfer Blood’s name and lyrics, the band members carry themselves like well-mannered gentlemen onstage.  Standing in the presence of this Florida-based rock and roll band, the struggles described in their tunes sound more like optimistic anthems. Due to lead singer John Paul Pitts’ usual poker face and the group’s immaculately cohesive jamming, it’s the sheer catchiness of each song that shines.  

Citing an emotional connection with the Pacific Northwest, the group scheduled three shows at the Sunset Tavern in January 2014 and surrounded them with additional appearances in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, BC.  Attending two out of the three shows at the Sunset Tavern, I noticed heaps of differences between them, despite taking place within one week of each other.

Surfer Blood’s January 4th appearance at the Ballard establishment was lively for sure, but unfolded with a bit of stiffness, as if fresh and clean as the newly-born 2014 itself. Washington-grown duo Cock & Swan began the night with ethereal tunes and poetry-slamesque lighting, cloaking the Tavern in dusky vibes.  Next up were the downright lovable Portland group Wild Ones.  Danielle Sullivan’s voice was somehow simultaneously coy and peppy, and the band’s evident giddiness onstage was icing atop their gratifying pop-rock cake.

Perhaps the contemplative feel of these two openers carried over into Surfer Blood’s delivery.  While the execution was seamless, I did notice my pet peeve taking place: people in the front row who weren’t dancing in the slightest.  At an upbeat rock and roll event, why choose to occupy that coveted space if not to, you know, freak out a little? Thankfully, there were plenty of jaws dropped in joy when Pitts walked right down into the crowd during “Take It Easy,” and by the time their set wrapped up, everyone made the room rumble so much, the encore was especially satisfying.

 

On January 10th, the Sunset Tavern felt noticeably more energetic.  With two vibrant local bands opening the show -- the fantastically fun Dude York and groove-rock gurus Hibou -- there was no way Surfer Blood could come out anything but on fire.  While their first set has started with the buoyant but lesser-known “Fast Jabroni”, this night’s began with “Floating Vibes,” initiating a veritable singalong.  They also included “Catholic Pagans,” one of their most lyrically-rich songs..  When Pitts entered the crowd this time around, he wrapped his arms around multiple people, dancing all the way.  The front row was filled with headbangers and rug-cutters, and this evening’s encore featured people cheering as loudly as the guitars were shrieking.

Equal parts surfer jams and garage rock, Surfer Blood’s sound resonated perfectly within the intimate Sunset Tavern atmosphere, and having concerts in such quick succession only proved the guys are at the top of their game.  Seeing how both events sold out, I’d urge any live music lover to buy tickets to their January 17th show as soon as possible.  It’s their final stop in Seattle for this current tour, and something tells me they’re going to make it their best.

Words//Photos by AJ Dent


Tuesday
Jan142014

Damien Jurado - “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun” *Album Release*

Album release show on Friday 17 January 2014 at the Neptune Theater In Seattle, WA

Damien Jurado’s latest album, “Brothers and Sister of the Eternal Son,” finds the singer songwriter still ruminating in the despairing way listeners have come to know him best. “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son” is a melancholic folk rock album that at times is ethereal employing 60’s inspired arrangements a la the Zombies, or the moody calling of Echo & the Bunnymen. The songs are also psychedelic, worldly and a little cinematic if that film were an early 1970s sci-fi film. That’s not to discredit Jurado’s work. Jurado himself has never made the same record twice, which is what keeps his songwriting so interesting. On “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son,” Jurado still gives listeners something new while recognizing his work in the past.

Tracks like “Metallic Taste” and “Suns in Our Mind” are the poppiest Jurado allows himself to get musically. Though even at its bleakest moments the album’s songs still sink their hooks into you. “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son” comes across more like a soundtrack than a strict album. Jurado’s narrative follows the singer/songwriter as he continues to seek out an identity and finds himself at a crossroads. We never really know what it is Jurado is searching for, though perhaps Jurado himself doesn’t know either. “I don’t think I could choose a side / sunlights, they’re not meant to shine” he sings on “Suns in Our Mind.” What we do know is that the raw emotions at play on this album pull on our narrator influencing each word he gives us and paints a shadowy portrait of his world.

As an artist, Jurado has kept his music interesting by approaching his songwriting on each album differently. On “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun” Jurado once again teams with producer Richard Swift whom he last worked with on 2012’s “Maraqopa.” Jurado’s calls his latest effort a somewhat sequel to “Maraqopa” (look no further than the track “Return to Maraqopa”), but “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son” is more than just part two of a great album. Jurado seems to finally be getting comfortable in his own skin, or, at least, he’s found a skin that fits well for now.

The album’s production is atmospheric and beautiful. The lyrics: honest. Swift accurately helps Jurado capture his dreamscapes in sound and renders them gorgeously bleak. It’s a sound that comes across, at times, cleverly nostalgic and contemporary (so accurately rendered is the world created on this record, it has Father John Misty gushing about it on SPIN). If this album is Jurado getting comfortable, then let’s settle in with him.

Words by Craig Robert Brown

Photos by Adam Richert

Album release show on Friday 17 January 2014 at the Neptune Theater In Seattle, WA

  • 01/21/14              Burlington, VT                   ArtsRiot                find tickets
  • 01/22/14              Northampton, MA          Iron Horse           find tickets
  • 01/23/14              Allston, MA                        Brighton Hall      find tickets         
  • 01/24/14              New York, NY                    Bowery Ballroom             find tickets
  • 01/25/14              Philadelphia, PA               Boot and Saddle               find tickets
  • 01/26/14              Washington DC                 DC9                        find tickets
  • 01/28/14              Pittsburgh, PA                   Warhol Arts        find tickets
  • 01/29/14              Louisville, KY                      Headliners          find tickets
  • 01/30/14              Madison, WI                      Frequency          find tickets
  • 01/31/14              St. Paul, MN                       Turf Club              find tickets
  • 02/01/14              Chicago, IL                           Schubas               find tickets
  • 02/18/14              Amsterdam, NL                De Duif                 find tickets
  • 02/19/14              Ghent, BE                            Handelsbeurs    find tickets
  • 02/20/14              Hamburg, DE                      Kampnagel         find tickets
  • 02/21/14              Copenhagen, DK              Vega                      find tickets
  • 02/22/14              Berlin, DE                             Heimathafen     find tickets
  • 02/23/14              Cologne, DE                        Gebaeude 9       find tickets
  • 02/25/14              Munich, DE                         Milla                      find tickets
  • 02/26/14              Ravenna, IT                        Bronson               find tickets
  • 02/27/14              Roma, IT                              Lanificio 159        find tickets
  • 02/28/14              Milano, IT                            Belleza                  find tickets
  • 03/01/14              Zurich, CH                            El Lokal                 find tickets
  • 03/02/14              Paris, FR                               Cafe de la Danse              find tickets
  • 03/03/14              London , UK                       Village Underground      find tickets
  • 03/05/14              Dublin, IE                             Whelan's                             find tickets
  • 03/07/14              Vigo, ES                                Auditorio Municipal de Vigo        find tickets
  • 03/08/14              Valladolid, ES                     Teatro Cervantes             find tickets
  • 03/09/14              Zargoza, ES                         Centro Civico Delicias     find tickets
  • 03/10/14              Barcelona, ES                     Apolo Theatre                   find tickets
  • 03/11/14              Valencia, ES                        Teatro la Rambleta          find tickets
  • 03/12/14              Algeciras, ES                       Sala La Gramola                find tickets


Thursday
Jan092014

Diamond Doves - "One Good Reason"

Photo via Flickr user rufusowliebat.

Diamond Doves clearly have some new ideas for the new year. This week, the multifaceted multi-instrumentalists that made up Elvis Perkins’s backing band have released a shiny single that’ll brighten your winter.

“One Good Reason” is a smart synthy jam from Wyndham Boylan-Garnett and Nick Kinsey, featuring some nifty strings from San Fermin’s Ellis Ludwig-Leone and Perkins on background vocals. Altogether it sounds like the group’s most polished effort yet.

You can hear more from Diamond Doves, including last year’s debut LP Eat Your Heart Out, on their bandcamp page.

Wednesday
Jan082014

Roger Miller Tribute - Columbia City Theater - Seattle, WA

Hearth Music paid tribute to an underrated legend of the country music dynasty at the Columbia City Theater. It was a night full of nostalgia and answered the question "where have all the average people gone."

The night was hosted by Iaan Hughes of KBCS who carried the audience through the musical career of Miller by showing videos of him playing with artists such as Willie Nelson (before the beard and pony tail), Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, and of course the Muppets. I was not expecting this show to be an informative show but so glad it was! Everyone left the theater learning a thing or two, no matter how big a fan.

Country came out in full force by some of the finest folk acts in the Emerald city such as Ms. Pepper ProudLiam Fitzgerald (of the Raineros), Jon Pontrello of the MoondoggiesCountry Dave and His Pickin Crew and many more to contribute to this throw back night. Each band played 2 songs (or so) so if you blinked then you might have missed a song. Roger Miller has so many hits such as "Chug-A-Lug", "King of the Road", "You Cant Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd", and "Dang Me", but what truly takes me back is his soundtrack to Disney's Robin Hood. Such beautiful and catchy songs that never go out of style.

"Not in Nottingham"
"Chug-A-Lug"