Tags: Jacco Gardner, Syd Barrett, Trouble In Mind
Quick, how many animals can you spot on the cover of Jacco Gardner’s Cabinet of Curiosities? I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time studying the cover of Jacco Gardner‘s debut album which came out on Trouble in Mind earlier this year while listening to it. Mind altering substances, be they Gardner’s songs or something else, help you find more creatures, some real and some imagined. The record is a sound & site to behold.
If you haven’t figured it out, Gardner is something of a Dutch Syd Barrett at least in song writing style, hopefully not in acid taking regiment. The album is good but since Gardner played and sang the entire thing except for the drums, it can sound a little canned at times. That is why I’m looking forward to his date at the Barboza (aka Neumo’s basement) this Wednesday night with a full band. The already good songs will undoubtedly break free of their earthly shackles and become wild animals in the night. Hiding in the trees like on the cover leaping out at you from where you hadn’t the faintest idea they were lurking. No other mind alter substances required.
You can pick up Cabinet of Curiosities and/or his brand new single The End of August from his label Trouble in Mind.
Here are the remaining dates of his US tour.
Wed. Oct. 9 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Thu. Oct. 10 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Sat. Oct. 12 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
Tue. Oct.15 – Washington DC @ Black Cat Backstage
Wed. Oct 16 – Oct 19 – New York, NY @ CMJ
Mon. Oct. 21 – Montreal, QC @ Le Divan Orange
Tue. Oct. 22 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Wed. Oct. 23 – Hamilton, ON @ This Ain’t Hollywood
Fri. Oct. 25 – Detroit, MI @ Garden Bowl
Sat. Oct. 26 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Sun. Oct. 27 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
Tags: Druids, Little Black Cloud Records, Universe People, Vampires
This Saturday at the Rendezvous in the Emerald City, Earth Seattle’s Universe People will be playing their record release show. This blog had a few close encounters with them last year and has been under the spell of their debut album Go To the Sun for quite some time, so it’s exciting that is getting the vinyl treatment courtesy of Little Black Cloud Records. The trio fronted by Australian ex-pat Jo Claxton deliver serrated pop that teases and caresses before puncturing skin. They also have a biting sense of humor which is demonstrated in both of the videos (below) they have made for the album. One involves vampires and the other Druids. Pop inspired by blood, the dark of night and the Iron Age!!
If you are not near Seattle on Saturday night, you can procure a copy Go To the Sun from Little Black Cloud.
Tags: Ballard, Conor Byrne, Lawrence Arabia
Back in July James Milne aka Lawrence Arabia quietly released the best psychedelic pop record of the year. The Sparrow is his third album under the Lawrence Arabia moniker. A complex record that can be dark and moody like a Scott Walker album, pensive and melodically playful like a Harry Nilsson one, full of double entendres like something from Cole Porter, and packed with gorgeous string and brass arrangements reminiscent of Burt Bacharach. I’ve fallen in love with the Sparrow over the last few months. It’s a record full of haunting pleasures that increases its hold on you with each listen.
Lawrence Arabia makes a very rare appearance tomorrow (Saturday, 1 December) at the Conor Byrne in Ballard. I doubt he will have a string section with him, but Milne’s songs should able to stand on their own without the fancy trimmings of the album.
full album stream: Lawrence Arabia – The Sparrow
Tags: Tea Cozies
It’s been about three years since the Tea Cozies’ Hot Probs album. Maybe you thought the Seattle band was dead or at least in purgatory. Maybe they were, but their new five song EP sees them back from the dead, or just plain back with a new EP called Bang Up. The Cozies have a razor sharp eye for a pop hook, and they’ve honed it during their time away. Their former UK pop leanings have been grafted with some Throwing Muses, Blake Babies and Tuscadero.
The two stand-out songs on the EP act as book-endeds. The first song Muchos Dracula is a swirling tempest (resisting urge to say in a teapot here) of a song. Its organ sounds like it was plucked from either a 50’s horror movie or 60’s garage band and is backed by a quality guitar riff and topped off with effortlessly cool vocals. It may have a Halloween themed title, but this is no mere disposable holiday fare. Muchos Dracula transcends blood, garlic, and even stakes through the heart. Bring it out for any party. Guaranteed to get the kids moving. Final song Silhouette In a Suitcase begins with a church like organ and is a soulful ode to time traveling to see your favorite bands in their prime. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of these reunion tours where weight has been gained, hair has thinned and energy has been sucked. Every rock kid’s dream is not to see a reunion, but to have been there when it actually happened.
Tea Cozies are happening now. Their EP release show is this Saturday, 27 October at the Columbia City Theater. Also on the bill are Erik Blood, Kithkin and Charms.
mp3: Tea Cozies – Muchos Dracula (from the Bang Up EP) – You can download the song at the Tea Cozies’ Bandcamp.[audio http://home.comcast.net/~finestkiss4/chansons/TeaCozies-MuchosDracula.mp3]
Tags: Burger Records, Gap Dream, Spacemen 3, The Apples In Stereo, The Raspberries, The Squires
I planned to write about something else, but I started listening to the Gap Dream album and now everything else sounds pale in comparison right now. Gap Dream is the name Cleveland, Ohio dude Gabriel Fulvimar uses to record, and this album came to fruition when Fulvimar sent the guys at Burger Records one of his songs. They loved it and now it’s on a slab of vinyl. The album came out earlier this year on Burger’s format of choice, the cassette, but the Fullerton label is now getting around to properly issuing it on vinyl.
It has a druggy psychedelic vibe to it, but it isn’t too stoner-rock. A little Apples in Stereo mixed with a little Spacemen 3. It also has some power-pop flourishes that may or may not be traceable back to another Cleveland band the Raspberries. Throw in a pretty cover of the Squires Go Ahead and you’ve got a record that is hard to put down.
Gap Dream play the Comet here in Seattle this Sunday, August 5th.
Stream the entire record over at bandcamp.
Order a copy of the record from Burger.
Tags: Brave Irene, Detective Agency, Hardly Art, HHBTM, Orca Team, Sea Pony, Slumberland
Rose Melberg has been in a quite a few bands. Tiger Trap and Go Sailor were reved up C-86 fueled rock records. After that things mellowed out and have stayed that way. The Softies were gentle and sugary and here last few solo records kept the minimal sweet and soft songs coming. After going solo for the last few records, she’s got a band together again that goes by Brave Irene. They released an eight song self-titled album on Slumberland earlier this year that brings back some of the energy from her Tiger Trap and Go Sailor days with its organ soaked and harmony drenched songs. Brave Irene play a rare live show this Saturday, November 5th at the Vera Project here in Seattle. Opening the show will be the city’s very own indiepop hero’s in the making Seapony. It’s great to have a band like Seapony in Seattle. They’re active, playing out a lot and make shows like this happen with their enthusiastic support. The band have a new 7-inch coming out on Hardly Art, so I’m guessing we’ll hear some new songs along with the gems that adorned their album Go With Me.
While we’re talking shows, Orca Team are playing the tiny Rendezvous Thursday night. The former Portland band seems to have defected and now officially call Seattle home. They are still playing that 50’s dance party music from 20 leagues beneath the sea and are garaunteed to be wearing matching outfits. Opening are Detective Agency who are pretty new to Seattle. So new, they only have two songs posted over on their facebook page. Both are drenched with noise and DIY. I’ve been kind of obsessed with their song Daggers for the last couple days. I’m hoping they’ve got a bunch more stuffed in a duffle bag that are just as good.
Tags: 14 Iced Bears, Hardly Art, Seapony
Photo snagged from Seattle Weekly
The first thing I noticed about Seapony‘s debut album besides the slightly chillwave cover image was the layout of the CD. It looks like it came from the Sarah Records catalog circa 1992. The colors, fonts and inner sleeve photo reminded me of Blueboy‘s If Wishes Were Horses. The cover does not lie, Seapony’s sound is entirely reminiscent of the Sarah Records catalog as well.
Singer Jen Weidl has a sweetness to her voice that is offset by her disaffected delivery. This makes the songs sound innocent and jaded at the same time. Lead guitarist and songwriter Danny Rowland has created clean and simple pallets of jangling and ringing tones for his songs. Listening to the record on head phones accents the quietness of it, making it pass by without an impression and that nearly happened to me. My mind changed after putting it on the old hi-fi stereo with some descent speakers. Playing on the old hi-fi, the songs seem to crackle from the speakers, blossoming into full foliage. It makes me wonder how many of us actually listen to albums on a descent stereo any more instead of crappy headphones? Sometimes it makes all the difference in ‘getting’ and appreciating a record. Go With Me is a subtle understated record that doesn’t demand your attention but sort of nestles up beside you when you’re not looking, like that ordinary everyday aquaintance that you one day realize is an interesting and cool person.
mp3: Seapony – Dreaming
mp3: Seapony – Blue Star
Both songs from Seapony’s album Go With Me. Order a copy for your home hi-fi today from Hardly Art.
Seapony have played around town quite a lot since their debut late last year, but they have recently gone the way that Echo and the Bunny did way back and retired their drum machine and added a human drummer to their line up so Thursday’s record release gig at Vera Project is cause to see them (again). If you need more cause to go to Thursday’s show, here’s one: 14 Iced Bears! The very same C-86 angular janglers are back and Seattle is one of the few stops on their short West Coast tour. The band’s collection of singles and BBC sessions compiled on Slumberland’s In the Beginning along with the band’s self-titled debut are some of the best under-heard stuff from that era. I’m hoping that they skip much of their second album Borderline as it doesn’t hit quite the sweat spot as their earlier material.
Tags: Beats, Eternal Summers, Healthy Times Fun Club
Sasquatch, Folklife, Rain Fest, am I missing one? Memorial Day weekend in Seattle is all about Festivals. If you’re not the festival type and you are sticking around Seattle this weekend there’s a show at the Healthy Times Fun Club Friday night that is well worth your time. Roanoak, Virginia’s Eternal Summers and Queens, New York’s the Beets will be in town and playing there tomorrow night. The Beets show at the Funhouse with German Measles a little more than a year ago was a blast complete with piñata, but I’m most looking forward to Eternal Summers who’s album Silver from last year was a favorite of mine. It dialed in stuff like the Spinnanes, Throwing Muses and Galaxy 500 while breaking new ground. The band have a new EP called Prisoner coming soon on Kanine/Forest Family Records. Seattle’s Witch Gardens and the Pharmacy round out the bill.
Tags: The Lights
A while ago I noticed that the Funhouse Concert Calendar stated: The Lights Say “See you later… probably much later.” I figured that could either mean they were going off on a long tour or they were calling it quits. Unfortunately the later turned out to be the case when I got the email from the band that said while they were not officially breaking up the band, they were going an indefinite hiatus. Their album Failed Graves from last year was number 20 in my year end countdown and what I wrote seems apropos for enticing you to head down to the Funhouse one last time to see them live:
The Lights have been trolling around the seedy side Seattle for quite a while. Ten years on and Failed Graves is only the band’s third album but my favorite so far. There were more than a couple times this year when I was standing either in the Funhouse or the Sunset watching them storm through a set thinking that they were the best live band going in Seattle right now. Craig Chambers in a suit looking like a huckster that plays a mean guitar, Jeff Albertson fiercely clutching his well worn bass while PJ Rogalski wailed on the drums.
The Lights can truly conjure cathartic energy at will with their songs and they will be missed. If you are in Seattle you should turn up at the Funhouse this Friday, 25 February to partake in their going away party. Their demise seems to have been precipitated by drummer PJ Rogalski moving to Montana. Albertson will still be around with his new band Summer Babes and Chambers has both Love Tan and Le Sang Song to him busy, but Friday night for one last time it’s all about the Lights. They’re planning an extra long set and are still taking requests over at their Facbook page. So hit them up for your favorite song and then be there on Friday to hear it.
Here are a handful of Lights favorites:
mp3: The Lights – Gingerella (from Failed Graves)
mp3: The Lights – Icy Run (from Diamonds and Dirt)
mp3: The Lights – Victims of the Pleasure of the Sense of Hearing (from Beautiful Bird)
Buy some Lights records from their label Wantage.
Tags: Summer Babes
Summer Babes appeared this summer seemingly out of nowhere with an EP they put up on bandcamp. I got sucked in by the undeniable pop hypnosis of their song Crack Habit and ponied up the $5 for a download and was not disappointed. The Babes are lead by Jeff Albertson who sings sometimes in the Lights but mostly plays bass in that band. Summer Babes are his outlet for the songs that don’t fit into the Lights’ prickly, sharp edged design. Their EP is full of laid back, wistful and nostalgic songs that are easy to like. They even incorporate some reggae (or is it Pere Ubu‘s version of reggae?) into their sound on the song Bad News. Reggae aside, they’ve got kind of a 90’s thing going on and Albertson’s voice reminds me a little bit of Buffalo Tom‘s Bill Janovitz and he knows how to turn a pop hook which makes this EP pretty easy on the ears.
I can’t help but think seeing them live will put a smile on your face. They’ll be playing at the Comet Tavern this Friday along with the Redwood Plan and Night Train if you are so inclined.
mp3: Summer Babes – Crack Habbit (from their self-titled EP)