Belated List of 2016 Seattle LP’s

Is it too late for a list of my favorite hometown albums from last year? Probably, so go ahead and send a letter to the editor if you are feeling list fatigue. Otherwise continue reading and I promise this is the last one till next year.

1. Erik Blood – Lost In Slow Motion (Home Skillet)
Blood was involved in a lot of records this year, including recording two others on this list (Tacocat & Hotels). For his third album Erik Blood is still a solo act, but it’s mostly in name alone. Irene Barber provides additional guitar and singing throughout while it is book-ended by guest vocal appearances from Ismael Butler and OCnotes. He transcends any shoegaze pigeonhole he may have had and broadens his horizons to wide screen cinematic pop.

2. The Exquisits – Home (Asian Man)
The Exquisits have a sweaty punk sound that brings to mind Van Morrisson, the Hold Steady and Buffalo Tom. I also love the way they deftly incorporate horns into their powerful pop making it even more exciting.

3. Tacocat – Lost Time (Hardly Art)
Album number three finds Tacocat with no shortage of inspiration, Seattle, working on the weekend, X-Files and dealing with idiots on the internet. It is immediate and bright and speaks to you whether you are 14 or 40.

4. Versing – Nude Descending (Youth Riot)
Reason number 99 for why I don’t own a record label: When I first saw Versing they played with the then unsigned So Pitted. A few months later So Pitted signed to Sub Pop and released record. Versing put their dissonant Pavement meets Swell Maps record out about a year later on the tiny Tacoma label Youth Riot.

5. Vats – Green Glass Room (End of Time)
On the radio station that plays in my head, any song from this record would be played in a set that included Gang of Four, Lithics, A Frames and the Pheromoans. With its bony elbows, Green Glass Room  makes its own space in the dissonant,/angular/punk  room.

6. Sloucher – Certainty (Swoon)
Sloucher’s Heatmiser meets Sebadoh takes you back to the 90’s heyday of Seattle rock history.

7. Crater – Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep (Help Yourself)
This electronic duo due make dark and moody songs that are just light and breezy enough to dance too.

8. Hotels – Night Showers (Self-released)
Hotels have been knocking around Seattle for years, and have released a number of albums and singles but none as good as their latest. Enhancing their atmospheric guitar based songs with luscious doses of horns and strings makes Night Showers really pop!

9. Lisa Prank – Adult Teen (Father/Daughter)
Colorado transplant Lisa Prank writes bedroom punk rock similar to Colleen Green, like if the Ramones were in your bedroom and preferred a drum machine.

10. Gazebos – Die Alone (Hardly Art)
Recorded by former Fastbacks guitarist Kurt Bloch and fronted by a couple Seattle indierock linchpins – T.V. Coahran who runs Gorgonzola  Records and Shannon Perry formerly of Butts and Katharine Hepburn’s Voice. This record  feels like it was made by a band of roving minstrels who found some wagons full of amplifiers. It’s loud with a slightly unhinged feel that keeps you on your toes .

podcast, blogcast, whatever

blah blah blah

Just what the world needed, me talking about music, instead of writing about it.    For some sycophantic reason, I’ve been wanting to do a podcast for a while and well, I’ve finally I gone and done it.  It’s racked with uhms, ahhs and mistakes, like when I say that the British Sea Power brothers are in the Brakes.  I’m too lazy to go back and fix it to say that it’s the Electric Soft Parade Brothers.  I’m sure you guys could care less anyway, mistakes are punk rock, no?  We’re keepin’ it real and raw, no second takes going on around here!  This was done in the basement of my house and you can even hear the furnace coming on in the background!  So without any further hemming and hawing here it is, the basementcast.  Feel free to fast forward.

podcast: download

Track List:

Robyn Hitchcock – What You Is
Brakes – Crystal Tunings
Tacocat – Leotard
Bratmobile – Kiss & Ride
Dum Dum Girls – Hey Sis
Surf City – Mt Kill
Clean – Beatnick
3D’s – Outer Space
Crayon Fields – Mirror Ball
Erik Blood – These Days
Mayer Hawthorne And The Country – Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out
Whitest Boy Alive – Promise Less Or Do More
Del Amitri – Sense Sickness
Fanfarlo – Pilot
Hotels – Hydra
Say Hi – November Was White
It Hugs Back – Work Day
Cats On Fire – Letters From a Voyage to Sweden
Bubblemen – The Bubblemen Are Coming

Mary Onettes at the Sunset

Mary Onettes at the Sunset Tavern, Seattle | 10 May 2008

If you’ve heard of the Mary Onettes, you’ve probably heard how they’re a total throwback to the 80’s and the Cure, Jesus & Mary Chain, U2 and the Icicle Works. That takes me back to my high school years of listening to all of those bands and always getting weird looks or derogatory comments for the music was that I was into. Sure, I had a few friends (they were usually girls) that were into the same stuff, but for the most part my Midwestern school mates thought the stuff was just not cool. The Mary Onettes kind of get the same treatment. If it’s not for sounding too 80’s then they seem to be derided for sounding too emotional with the vocals and guitars soaring a little too much. Then as now I thought it was the detractor’s loss.

The Mary Onettes album was released last year on Labrador and it’s not very often bands from that Swedish label make it over here to the States and even less often that they make it to the west coast. The enthusiastic crowd at the Sunset Tavern seemed to appreciate that these Swedes had made the trek to Seattle on their inaugural tour of the US. Every song was met with cheers and you could tell that people were totally into the show, calling out for songs, and singing along to most every song. I was actually a little surprised at how good they were. The album, has its good moments, but is a little bit over produced with some of the slower songs sounding a little same-y. Live, you see how good they really are. Singer Philip Ekstom has a great voice and he totally belts it out, but the entire band is tight with the double guitar attack of Ekstrom and Petter Aguren (Fender and Rickenbacker) darting back and forth over top of one another. I was looking forward to the Mary Chain-ish Lost and the Cure-like Void, but the song that totally floored me was Under the Guillotine. Ekstrom’s vocal was channeling Bono and Ian McNabb while the Chameleons-like guitar just put it over the top. I was in heaven, or rather 1985 again and it was pretty damn great!

mp3: Mary Onettes – Under the Guillotine (buy the album)

Openers, the Hotels were cool in a tightly wound Oingo Boingo, Thomas Dolby kind of way. They’ve got a sense of humor, each wearing bell boy clothes with name tags. They like to get into a very tight groove, with the drummer’s hands mostly a blur for most of the set. They were giving away a free three song ep which I picked up and have been enjoying quite a bit. On record they show little more Chicago post-rock influence to their sound…Looking forward to the full length from this Seattle band.

Rest of the Mary Onettes US dates:

May 12 Hi Dive – Denver, CO
May 13 Recordbar – Kansas, MI
May 14 The Bluebird – St Louis, MI
May 15 Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
May 16 My Old Kentucky Blog @ Radio Radio – Indianapolis, IN
May 17 Garfield Artworks – Pittsburgh, PA
May 19 Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
May 20 M Room – Philadelphia, PA
May 21 DC9 – Washington, DC
May 23 Union Hall – Brooklyn, NY
May 24 Middle East – Boston, MA