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


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


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.


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"

Deep Sea Diver w/ Bryan John Appleby – Neumos – Seattle, WA

The show at Neumos on Friday night was nothing short of a Christmas special, from Peter Mansen in an adorable onesie to Bryan John Appleby’s delightful holiday get-up, complete with Muppets and a choir. A perfectly sweet open to Deep Sea Diver’s folk-driven rock, Appleby’s heartfelt set comprised of tender tracks from Fire on the Vine and carmelized Christmas numbers. Folk revivalism done tastefully, these narrative tunes are intricately instrumental and refreshingly honest.

Nearly two years out from the release of History Speaks, Deep Sea Diver’s sparse set refuses to wilt on record or stage. It doesn’t take more than one song to sink deliciously under the tasty spell of Jessica Dobson’s haunting synth-matched vocal hooks riding on Mansen’s galvanizing drums. Dobson’s possessed stature and impressive technical precision luxuriate in a likeness of Annie Clark (St. Vincent), and it’s not difficult to imagine the songstress reaching similar heights. A former member of The Shins (whose influence resounds in the nautical licks of ‘You Go Running’), Dobson on stage is simply captivating. Opening with temporal plays on flickering bare bulbs and exploding bursts of flood light, the band showed us promising new gems and several endearing Christmas covers. Dobson’s confessional 'O Holy Night' was backed by a stage decked with spectacular strings of lights that formed a massive tree, which the band had personally slaved over. The sonic celebrations left me with enough elation stuck on my heart to float away from the Pike/Pine antics filled with warm holiday fuzzies.

Photos//Words By Cassandra Croft

Deep Sea Diver

Bryan John Appleby


The Caleb Klauder Band - Nectar Lounge - Seattle WA

Saturday night at the Nectar Lounge, The Caleb Klauder Band proved that the only thing more fun than saying the term “honky-tonk” is listening to it live.  Originally from nearby Orcas Island, WA, and now living in Portland, Klauder embodies honky-tonk tunes with a pinch of the Pacific Northwest.  As evidenced by the title of his 2010 album, “Western Country,” his songs contain plucky puns, references to soul-saving roads, and that swoony twang capable of melting even the Seattle freeze.  The air smelt of whiskey and the fresh sweat of lively dancing.  It made me smile to note the spectrum of ages at the show; young couples kissed in every corner as clearly lifelong partners swung one another around in front of the stage.  With all the button-ups and cowboy boots about, I half-expected to see people sipping sarsparilla.  Not everyonelooked dressed for a hoedown, though -- those who’d be labeled by pop culture as “hipsters” were right in the thick of it too, stomping their feet and cheering at each fiddle solo.

Urging the audience members to all “take home someone sweet” that night, Klauder’s clear charm and warm voice filled the venue with positive vibes all through his set.  When one of his strings broke and he had to dash off to fix it between songs, the band burst into an instrumental number with just the rightamount of giddyup to keep people swaying.  As each member participates in a multitude of other projects, their experience shone through, making for a cohesive and catchy show perfect for the Nectar Lounge’s stage and size.  I highly recommend hitting a Caleb Klauder Band concert to anyone in need of a pick-me-up with plenty of country-style panache.

Words // Photos by AJ Dent 


Tonight: Cass McCombs plays The Sinclair

Cass McCombsBig Wheel and Others is one of my favorite albums of the year. It's a massive, rambling, folk-country epic. Clocking in at 22 tracks, it features some gorgeous guitar work, wry lyrics and some really great tunes.  

McCombs takes his freewheeling act on the road to The Sinclair on Monday night and I would suggest checking it out. I saw him play back in September and it was simply spellbinding.

Stream "There Can Be Only One" and see his other tour dates below.


Tue Dec 03 2013 Il Motore, Montreal, QC, Canada
Wed Dec 04 2013 Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON, Canada
Fri Dec 06 2013 The Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL, US
Sat Dec 07 2013 Zanzabar, Louisville, KY, US
Sun Dec 08 2013 High Watt, Nashville, TN, US
Mon Dec 09 2013 The Earl, East Atlanta, GA, US
Thu Dec 12 2013 The Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY, US
Fri Dec 13 2013 Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, PA, US
Sat Dec 14 2013 Ottobar, Baltimore, MD, US 


Dan Dodd - "This Ordinary Life" - Providence RI

Providence's Dan Dodd finds inspiration in the everyday. On his latest tune, fittingly titled "This Ordinary Life", he looks to an e-mail correspondence with a friend over seas for the lyrics. 

"Lately I've been interested in extracting songs from every day conversations. They seem to tell many stories at once, depending on who is listening," he writes.

Thankfully Dodd lets us listen in on his Nick Drake-like melodicism, matched with sublime visuals from Evan St Martin at Frame & Anchor Films. Turns out there's plenty of beauty all around us.
Dan Dodd is the stage name of Providence-based singer-songwriter Dan Chase. Dodd's is his mother's maiden name, and his given name at birth. "Using it is a sort of return to childhood for me. I think it's important we remember the innocence and honesty of being a kid. It just might be the thing that saves us as we grow up," he says.
Follow him on Facebook here.

Dan Dodd - This Ordinary Life from Frame & Anchor on Vimeo.

Words // Brian Hodge

Video // Evan St. Martin at Frame & Anchor Films

Hear more from Dan!



XVIII Eyes - Interview by The MIXTAPE

We are proud to anounce our partnership and general friendship with the pod cast The Mixtape hosted by Sean De Tore. The Mixtape is a weekly pod cast and blog that cranks out great interviews and exclusive content that complements Visible Voice. Show your support by downloading the pod cast and checking out the blog. Look forward to more exciting content from the both of us!

Local group XVIII Eyes have a couple of records under their belt with the latest and greatest being "I'll Keep You". Rumor has it that the band first titled the album "I'll Keep You Loving This Record Until Time Stands Still Because It's So Effing Good", but it was just too long and a bit over the top. Ok, that's not true at all. At least the part about the album title. The record, however, is indeed so. effing. good.

I had the chance to chat with guitarist/vocalist Irene Barber about the name of the band, radio vs. social media, naming songs and fun gay bar times involving a bartender named Shannon who is "the tallest, toughest and coolest dyke around.".

XVIII Eyes play Chop Suey Thursday, Nov.14 along with Ships and Blue Light Curtain.

the mixtape: When I hear the words 18 Individual Eyes I think of a massive man eating spider or some disturbing creature I would not want to meet at any time in my life. Where did you get the name 18 Individual Eyes or XVIII Eyes as it is sometimes stylized and what kind of thoughts does it evoke in you?

XVIII: Ha! The name does sound pretty Sci-Fi, which I think would be just as fitting for us. It's from The Bell Jar which I was reading at the time we were trying to find a name. The exact sentence is actually, "Eighteen separate eyes." The character is describing a trip to see a new doctor, and how she walks into the room to find that nine students (eighteen eyes) will be sitting in for the visit. We've made a formal decision to change our name to simply "XVIII Eyes." Most folks, including ourselves, leave out "Individual" when referring to us. So we thought we might as well cut it out, make the name shorter and hopefully sweeter as well.

tm: As I was researching you folks I stumbled upon a photo-blog with posts from 2010 when the band was comprised of all women. Nowadays I see that you've got a dude in the group. Was it important to be an all female group at the time or was it sheer coincidence?

XVIII: Coincidence. XVIII Eyes embodies both the feminine and masculine spectrums regardless of lineup. Our presence is mixed and I love that.

tm: I heard your new song "We Only Talk in San Francisco" on KEXP recently (which inspired this chat, btw) and loved the darn thing. Radio is still very present and important but these days we also have TONS of social media and ways to promote ourselves on-line. Do you put more weight into one medium than the other or are radio and internet both very important for what you're doing?

XVIII: Aw, well thank you very much! We are incredibly appreciative of KEXP and the support they give to local and independent artists around the world. I'm so horrible with social media. You'll catch me listening to KEXP far more often than you'll find me on the social webs. This isn't to say that social media isn't wonderful — our band definitely benefits from it whether it be someone following a tweet to this interview, or someone getting the details for our next show. I find myself discovering new music via radio, music blogs, and other music media on the internet that are not necessarily socially-driven. That said, I'm sure this isn't true for everyone, and so I'm not sure we should put weight in one medium over the other. I do know this though: The other night I was driving home and we came on KEXP, one minute later I got an email from Bandcamp saying we sold another download. I've gotta think that the person was inspired to go out and find us online after hearing us on the airwaves.

tm: Why do some of you look familiar to me? I know I've seen you around town. What do you do for your day jobs?

XVIII: I'm guessing you've most likely seen Andy out and about as he bartends/backs and works security at a couple different spots. Our practice space is on 11th and Pike, so we spend a lot of time at Pettirosso. Samantha just opened Studio 915, her massage therapy studio in the Rainier Building. Jamie is taking a bit of a sabbatical and is working on her home recording studio. I do interaction design for a tech company in Fremont.

tm: What other talents do you have besides playing music and singing and junk?

XVIII: Both Sam and I live in the world of art and design. Jamie is a carpenter extraordinaire! And Andy can identify and name any aircraft you throw at him. We can all polish off a bottle of Fireball in one night. Disgusting or sexy, yes this is a talent.

tm: Tell me a story, either crazy or sane, about your time on the road.

XVIII: Out on the road we stay pretty even-keel - let's say somewhere in between crazy and sane, haha. A good story came out of our time on tour with Minus the Bear last winter. After our show in Des Moines, IA we all hit up the local gay bar across the street where we met the now revered, Shannon the Bartender. The tallest, toughest and coolest dyke around. She poured the stiffest drinks and told us the craziest stories. The bar also had those business cards where you can rate the attractiveness of people you meet 1 through 10. I don't know - are these used for booty calls later? Anyway, we asked Shannon to rate us - Jamie, Sam, me and our sound lady Robin. She gave us a 7 saying, "you're pretty good, but there is room for improvement." Damn! She put us in our place that night with tough love and booze. Shannon ended up coming to our show the next night in Madison, WI. She brought some pot cookies, and Andy and I ate one each without question or hesitation. Oh my word, they were way too strong. I sunk into a paranoia so strong I was convinced she had poisoned us. Andy was across the room flying through a Star Wars battle scene. Shannon, respect. You kicked the shit out of us two nights in a row.

tm: Your new record is called I'll Keep You. Who came up with that name? Also, as a band, how do you come up with album names/song titles? Are they super important?

XVIII: This album is a bit lighter in mood, much more open, exposed and publicly affectionate. We thought the title I'll Keep You effectively captures those qualities. "I'll Keep You" is also the first track on the record, which is the same first-song-equals-record-title equation we went with on our last record Unnovae Nights. A few of our song titles, and lyrics for that matter, are phrases spoken in conversations among ourselves. When it happens we all kind of stop and are like, hey that'd make a sweet song title. Being the lyricist, I'm usually in the best position to find or pull the appropriate title. But at the same time, I think the best titles are ones that just pop and intrigue. They don't have to have incredible meaning.

tm: Do you remember making/receiving a mixtape as a kid or even as an adult for that matter? If so, what was on it?

XVIII: I made a mixtape for myself when I discovered how to use a dual cassette player in 2nd grade. I made a mix from a couple of my mom's tapes - Dionne Warwick and Sade. It was my bath time mix.

tm: New record. Check. Upcoming show at Chop Suey. Check. What does the future look like for 18 Individual Eyes?

XVIII: Next month we are playing a show with My Goodness at the Croc. And we are already writing new tunes. We're excited to see what direction the writing goes. We'd love to go on tour in early spring. Announcements around both to come!

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