December 20, 2011

Three New Venues Coming to Seattle in the New Year

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In 2012, there’ll be at least three new stages for you to see live music at Seattle: two at already established local venues and a new concept for a club in Columbia City. Here’s a little bit about each of the new venues.

The Royal Room:

The Royal Room, just south of Columbia City Theater, celebrated their grand opening last week but I suspect it will take the new year for Seattle to really explore the room. The permanently back-lined stage will encourage collaboration between musicians of all types, here’s a little more on the Royal Room’s vision:

With permanent backline, recording and video, a grand piano and a generous stage, the venue has been designed to serve the musicians and artists who will be performing. Thursday through Monday evenings feature local artists with no cover charge, allowing fans and regulars alike to enjoy the music. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are reserved for national and touring acts. The music featured at the Royal Room covers a wide range of styles, with an emphasis on creative programming and development. This allows artists to work on projects in a collaborative community space. To that end, the club has been designed to accommodate in house recordings, off hour rehearsals and residencies of four to twelve weeks.

Neumo’s Basement:

As reported by The Stranger yesterday, Neumo’s will be opening a new 21+ basement venue in April of 2012 with a capacity of 200. With the untimely end of Healthy Times Fun Club, we were hoping the new Neumo’s venue might offer a much needed all-ages alternative on Capitol Hill, but the plans for a seven-night-a-week venue focusing largely on local talent is still a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Here’s more from LineOut:

(Steve) Severin says they plan on a art deco design with two bars, and the space will be versatile, able to host DJs and/or bands, or just stay open as a place to hang out. “We’re going to be open seven nights a week,” he says. “It will feel really cozy and comfortable. A place that will be nice for just chillin’ and rocking out to bands or dancing. Lots of bands are going to be a better fit down there, and it’s going to allow us to put on a LOT more local shows, which I’m really excited about.”

Crocodile Back Bar:

The Neumos news came hot on the tail of The Crocodile announcing they’ve added a small stage to their back bar, home to “The Office” happy hours this summer and fall and they too will be booking local shows and DJs. And you won’t have to wait till April to see shows there.

Here’s the word from Kerri Harrop, we’re especially excited to hear the words all-ages mentioned:

Starting this week, we’re now featuring live shows in the Crocodile back bar. A small stage has been built in the front corner of the room, and our sound and light team has assembled a good little system. We’ll have live shows back there as often as the calendar allows. In other words, pretty much whenever there isn’t something going on in the main showroom.

It will be a good opportunity for young bands and DJs to get into the mix, and definitely provides our booking team the chance to expand their horizons. Some of these shows will be all-ages, and cover charges will always be low (and, in some cases, non-existent).

We’re also hearing about a new stage in the U District in the new year and news will be coming out soon about that. When it comes to stages for local bands to play, we are of the mind, the more the merrier and we’re looking forward to checking out these new stages in the new year.

December 20, 2011

The Doe Bay Sessions: Pickwick (Bonus Session)

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Before they busted into song at Suzzallo, Pickwick performed “Blackout” acapella for us as the sun set on Orcas Island.

We shared this brand new Doe Bay Session at a screening and fundraiser for the Doe Bay Sessions on December 11th. We were humbled and excited so many folks came out to watch the Sessions and to see sets from alumnus Tomo Nakayama of Grand Hallway, Ravenna Woods and Bryan John Appleby. We raised nearly $600 to go towards the filming of future Doe Bay Sessions and Sound on the Sound videos … passion projects made by volunteers and previously with zero budget that didn’t come from our own pockets. And we’re still fumbling for the words to thank you enough.

December 20, 2011

Our Favorite Local Records Of 2011: #9 Kelli Schaefer – Ghost of the Beast

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Over the next two weeks we’ll be counting down our 10 favorite records released in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. Follow along!

#9 Kelli Schaefer – Ghost of the Beast (Amigo/Amiga)

Kelli Schaefer does not want us to settle in and get comfortable. Opening track on her breathtaking debut, Ghost of the Beast, is “The Fury”- a five-minute song with shifting distortion and distant melody peeking through industrial drums and choral “ooh”s from the wrong side of the train tracks. From there she launches into the title track of the record with scratching on metal, low piano crashes, all wrapped in the silver warmth of flute rubbing up against Schaefer’s raw, honeyed vocals. It left me unsettled, but captivated. Squirming in my seat, but staying there.

What brings you in to stay a while with this album from the beginning to the end is Schaefer’s voice, both what she sings and how she does it. With honesty that would make Abe blush, Schaefer sings in a clean, open timbre right through the thin shrouds and thick walls of what keeps us bound and terrified.

Through the record, Schaefer has penned tracks where her voice seems like it’s going to crack from the weight of everything, like she is using kick drum and her massive, spine tingling wail to slay something deep within humanity. In no more than a breath, she can switch from songs that unashamedly and loudly grapple with the irreverent, to tunes like “Gone in Love” that spin so delicate and pretty they can turn breath and regret into gold.

Kelli is not resting on her laurels, musically speaking. In fact, she doesn’t seem to rest much. An album about growing pains too big not to scream out into the loneliness, Schaefer’s debut has a dynamism many artists work their entire careers to accomplish, and a voice so important she mesmerizes audiences, while never asking for it.

Ghost of the Beast is full of such tattered splendor and truth, it feels familiar and impossibly new and different at the same time. So settle in as best you can, and don’t worry about that wall you’ve been building up. This will take care of it for you.

December 20, 2011

Our Favorite Photos of 2011: Beat Connection

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Beat Connection ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

This photo pretty much says everything you need to know about this band. This happened at the Havana in February just after Beat Connection had emerged from the UW house-show and DIY scene to take a European jaunt. It was an unexpected case of Mallorca visiting the rainy Northwest winter. I could use that again right about now.

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Laser Beat Connection ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

December 20, 2011

The Daily Choice Top 32 Songs of 2011

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The time has come for me to regurgitate an entire years worth of music on to the digital table so you can pick through the mess and see what I liked and possibly find something you missed or something you agree with or something you’ve never heard of and suddenly like.  As usual there are probably a hundred songs that I listened to and exclaimed “this is the best song ever” and then totally forgot to post anything about and also, as always, a lot of the songs tend be picked from the latter part of the year because my drug-addled brain is unable to source anything from the front half.  It’s a good mix this year and I’m proud that for almost 5 years now I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts on music on this amazing website with you, our amazing readers.

Happy Holidays!  I can only hope you enjoy:

High Pop – Drip From The Sea Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Walking In Unison Burnt Ones – Bury Me In Smoke Kendrick Lamar – A.D.H.D. Manatee – Mr. Super Ty Segall – Fame/Sufferage City Jacuzzi Boys – Cool Vapours Niilo Smeds – Summer Air King Blood – End of a Primitive Bachelorette – Blanket Koko and The Sweetmeats – Will I Ever Make It To The Ocean Rangers – Xochimilco War On Drugs – Baby Missiles Behavior – Laughing Disappears – Halo The Caretaker – Tiny Gradations of Loss Led Er Est – Lonesome XOXO Ducktails – Killin’ The Vibe

The top 14 songs after the jump.

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