The Allen Stone band spent a whirlwind year on the road, over 250 days in total away from Seatte, and capped it all off yesterday with a rendition of the National Anthem at the Niners/Seahawks game. In 2012 Allen Stone fully subscribed to the notion of ‘you can sleep when your dead’ so the release of their video for “Sleep” to close it out the feels a strikingly appropriate gesture.
For a musician, getting to a show (and doing so on time) is always some sort of adventure … even if you’re just driving from the hotel down the street. But when it comes to the ladies of Lemolo, their route to shows is not only an adventure, but a beautiful one. It consists of forested roads hugging the crooked curves of the Peninsula, ferry boat rides with the Sound churning below, sailing into a picturesque vista and, of course, a car crammed full of gear like a masterful game of Tetris.
The dreamy duo’s brand new video for “Letters,” one of our favorite songs of 2012, shows the band’s journey from their sleepy hometown of Poulsbo to their sold out show at The Triple Door this fall. Shot by local photographer and videographer Dylan Priest, “Letters” shows a beautifully intimate peek into a day in the life of Lemolo and we’re proud to be premiering it here on Sound on the Sound.
Lemolo will be making that same picturesque journey in just a few short hours as they travel from Poulsbo to The Paramount where they’ll be opening for Allen Stone tonight.
Short of the Super Bowl or maybe Saturday Night Live, Letterman’s show the Big Kahuna of TV appearances, and earlier this week Allen Stone became the most recent local band to hook that whopper. On the other coast in the midst of a summer bouncing between festivals, a day later The Head and the Heart (a guest on Letterman last year) stopped by Jimmy Fallonto do their thing.
The Head and the Heart are back in Seattle at the Paramount on Saturday September 15th. This year Allen Stone opens all three nights of Dave Matthews’ annual Labor Day extravaganza at the Gorge August 30th, 31st, and September 1st. After that I imagine he’ll be free to announce his own headlining show in one of the Emerald City’s finer venues, perhaps around late October before he goes international for a few weeks.
Seattle’s had a thing for soul-inflected rock lately, Allen Stone’s live band probably being the funkiest and most well known. Aspiring songwriter Carson Henley‘s latest effort certainly adds to a now crowding local field but it’s appropriately supported by some of that cohort, Allen Stone among them. Local Grammy winning engineer and player in Pickwick Kory Kruckenberg was also a part of the 100 Hours concept, providing engineering for songs being recorded during a hundred straight waking hours of writing and recording. Yeah, read that sentence again. Then watch the lead single “Fire” below to see where he went with it. Henley himself admitted in a documentary on his “One Hundred Hours Project” that he felt this was a make or break moment for his musical career, and given he went into the studio without all of the seven songs being written or even conceived, it’s hard not to be impressed with his results that reach from every corner of modern R&B.
100 Hours hit the streams earlier this week and Henley’s doing it live next week on Saturday July 7th at Columbia City Theater.
August 14th Stone and his funky family will be gracing one of prime time’s most coveted slots on the heels of the just announced national physical release of his self-titled record. A bad headline joke, I know, but a Letterman appearance?! That is Varsity by any measure.
Also this week Stone announced a national headlining tour for October and November of mostly East Coast and Midwest dates. Though there isn’t a Seattle date yet (it’s coming), a visit to Portland’s cozy Mississippi Studios just a short drive south is happening on October 25th, which is a good option for those who like more intimate spaces. The fall schedule so far is below the fold, but it’ll be getting bigger as a the summer goes on.
Allen Stone at Sasquatch! ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Less than a year after independently releasing his self-titled record digitally, Allen Stone remains independent and has announced that the Dave Matthews-helmed ATO Records will be licensing the record for a wider national release. Until now Allen Stone has only been available digitally, but with this deal we’ll finally see a physical release in stores on July 31st, with a vinyl edition on the shelves as well. The wax will come with an additional 12″ that includes two live tracks, “Satisfaction” and “Unaware,” a cover of Tingsek’s “Six Years” and a new recording of live staple “Figure It Out.” The CD and digital versions will also come with “Figure It Out” as a new eleventh track.
It’s been a fast paced 12 months since we first met Stone with visits to Conan, Daryl’s House, and South Africa, and with this news the next twelve aren’t likely to be any less hectic. Around here Allen Stone is already playing the biggest of stages: the Sasquatch Mainstage last month, Capitol Hill Block Party on July 20th, and then opening all three nights of The Dave Matthews Band annual Labor Day stand at the Gorge. The night before Block Party Allen Stone plays LA’s Greek Theater opening for Al Green!
Peep the full set of summer tour dates and the updated tracklist for the national release of Allen Stone below the fold:
Allen Stone ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Allen Stone was my one must-see act for Friday. Determined to meet his mainstage time of 5pm, we thought by arriving at around 3pm we would have plenty of buffer to make that easy. Unfortunately everyone else had that idea and so we got stuck five miles back from the main entrance, shuffling 50 meters at time. After waiting it out for an hour and realizing no way no how was I getting there by 5pm determination took over. A brisk five mile walk down the left-hand lane at roughly triple the speed of those in cars got me to the gates just after 5pm, five songs of Stone, and the above photo as a document of Stone’s recent meteoric rise.
And it was worth the walk.
Abbey on the other hand took a hit for the team and ended up spending longer on the 7 mile road from I-5 than we spent on the highway itself driving to the Gorge.
Charles Bradley ::: photo by Abbey Simmons
Ah, camping at the Gorge. Where inevitably your tent is always placed next to the techno RV, the drunk Canadians or the angry suburban bros prone to exposing themselves (to list my most recent neighbors) … Since you may not be getting much sleep at night, its easy to hope you could catch a little extra shut eye in the morning and not miss out too much by skipping the earliest bands taking the stage. Unfortunately, if I told you that, I’d be lying. In fact, some of the acts I’m most excited for at this year’s Sasquatch play just after the gate’s open every day. So bring your ear plugs to help you get some sleep and get in line early, these are bands worth waking up for.
Allen Stone ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Friday – Allen Stone (5:00pm) – Sasquatch Mainstage
Alright, so you won’t have to wake up early to catch Allen Stone on Friday, but you will have to make the proper arrangements to be able to have Friday off. If you’re heading to the campground, I suggest leaving before noon (or even better, Thursday after work), so you have time to set up your camp, deal with any traffic or delays getting into the campground and not torturing yourself by just hearing Allen’s funky falsetto drifting across the Gorge. Because Stone is a performer to be seen. While you won’t find me spinning his record at home, I don’t miss a chance to see Stone take the stage. He is, simply put, a pro. Capable of keeping the attention of a Sasquatch sized crowd with not only his vocal agility, but the “greasy” charm seeping from his pores. If you’ve been confused by the hype, but haven’t seen Stone yet, I suggest you see for yourself. If you’ve seen him before, I suspect you already have plans to get there early.
Read the rest of my recommendations (more…)
Dave Matthews Band returns to the road this year and in addition to a few support dates announced for locals the Head and the Heart and Blind Pilot, Allen Stone got the nod for three dates to close out the tour in September following DMB’s usual three night stand at the Gorge (this year with the Avett Brothers). If getting a spot like this is pretty much the definition of making it, how do you properly describe getting the invite to Daryl Hall’s house to jam with his buddies? And having a Philly Cheese Steak Feast? Going to heaven without having to die? Hall himself appears nothing short of a goofball himself, so his affinity for Stone is natural and he make’s a good vocal pair by just being himself. Stone is probably half the age of every person playing an instrument in that room, but he’d probably never encountered such sweet harmonies on his songs.
Last week revealed as a part of the Sasquatch! bill, this week Allen Stone was also just announced as appearing on Jimmy Kimmel March 13th. It’s obviously gonna be a big year.
Update 2/17: Announced a day after the publish date of this story Daryl Hall announced that this spring he’s doing a “Nu-Soul” review tour that will include Allen Stone and Sharon Jones. Dates for this tour are still being added, but currently The Live from Daryl’s House Nu-Soul Revue is visiting these cities:
April 11 – Montclair, NJ (Wellmont Theater) April 12 – Boston, MA (House of Blues) April 14 – Atlantic City, NJ (Music Box Borgata) April 18 – Minneapolis, MN (Orpheum) April 20 – Washington, DC (Warner Theatre) April 21 – NYC (Beacon Theatre)
Watch the details as they develop at www.lfdh.com.
Remember when we said we’d share our list of 25 other unmissable records the first week of January? Whoops. Thing is, the first month of this new year, we were still listening to and falling in (and out) of love with records from 2011. Discovering albums we should’ve shared months ago and finding out what sounded good in summer, didn’t survive snowmageddon. We added and whittled and debated and listened and when it comes down to these 24 albums, all released in 2011 by bands from the Pacific Northwest, we loved.
Here’s what you won’t find on here: records we wrote about in 2010 (The Head and The Heart, Beat Connection, Joseph Giant, Baltic Cousins), just okay releases from bands we’ve loved before, collections of 7’’s made into best of EPs, EPs in general and plenty of records that you loved with your whole heart and we just, didn’t. But, after hundreds and hundreds of hours of listening and seeing these bands live, slightly fewer spent talking about the albums amongst ourselves, we’re confident these are 24 records you’d be remiss to miss from 2011.
Here’s what you will find on here: bands from Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Boise. Psychedelic symphonies. Menacing metal. Four-Eyed Soul. Modern R&B. Party Punk. Folk confessionals. Hip shaking hip hop. These albums are self-released, funded by fans and put out by labels big and small. They are debuts and albums that defied sophomore slumps and career defining work. Albums that have been loudly lauded and others who’ve been mostly ignored. Its a sample of what makes being a music lover in the Pacific Northwest right now so exciting, there’s a little something for everyone and we hope you find something you love too.
AgesandAges – All Right You Restless (Knitting Factory)
Agesandages fills up a room. With no fewer than seven people adding harmony to the airtight, country-funk rock that spins off Alright You Restless, the debut record enthralled me with the desperate joy that permeates its entirety. Playing with the bog of loneliness and defeat, and inviting the world into that dark fold to find comfort in each other, it’s music that offers salve in stomps and hope in runaway choruses. (Kathleen)
Allen Stone – S/T (Self-Released)
“I’m sick and tired of soul music looking so clean and proper! Cause my soul… my soul… my soul is just a little big greasy!” This is how Allen Stone introduces himself to the crowd from the stage. Obviously steeped in tradition but not married to its dictates, Stone’s four-eyed soul is unrepentant in both its influences and its willingness to disregard them entirely. Repping the Northwest he’s more than likely on stage in a flannel or Sonics jersey instead of any Detroit mandated button-up uniform like most of his current peers. This un-buttoned attitude extends to the dynamic mixture of straight R&B ballads and kinetic pop and funk on display in this record. If nothing else, just like the live show, Allen Stone represents Stone being unapologetically himself. (Excerpted from Josh’s full October review.)
Case Studies – The World Is Just a Void to Fill the Space (Sacred Bones Records)
It’s plausible to say that every music fan in Seattle cried a tiny tear when Jessie Lortz and Kimberly Morrison decided to end their tenure as The Dutchess and The Duke a few years back. Yet, if any and all knew that Lortz would take the new found freedom and put an album as poetic and gorgeous as Case Studies’ The World Is Just a Void to Fill the Space, I wonder, how sad would we all of been?
I discovered Case Studies during a two week period where I was living out of a hotel room in Dubuque, Iowa. My girlfriend was in the midst of a two-week intensive dog-training course and I’d signed out to drive out there and then “focus on my writing” for two weeks in a thrifty Day’s Inn a few blocks from the Mississippi River. To say the least, the smell of old cigarettes and scratchy linens inspired nothing in me and I found myself grabbing my keys and drifting through the Midwest in a chrome-green Honda Element. The Midwest is a strange, lonely place for a city dweller, and with no destination in mind I’d pick a spot on the map an aimlessly cruise towards it. It was on one of these roads with the green blur of farmlands speeding by in the background, the thin snake of the Mississippi my only landmark, that I not only discovered Case Studies but fell wildly in love with it.
It starts with “You Folded Up My Blanket Like We Were Already Lovers,” a deceptively upbeat story about love in a car, on the stairs, in a garden. The road will numb you, and my musical selections weren’t cracking the shell, but “You Folded Up My Blanket…” with it’s beautifully simple lyrics slipped in and I played it on repeat, memorizing every word like a smitten teenager. From there “My Silver Hand” squeezed in to the gap, Lortz’s deep, whiskey-soaked voice rising above the simple violin and guitar, the words full of heartbreak and the need for redemption just peppering my emotional core. Somewhere between Dubuque and Hazel Green, Wisconsin, I fell wholeheartedly in love with the album as a whole. I pulled over the car and sat and stared out in to an endless stretch of green and felt lonely and a bit sad and completely won over by everything Lortz was crooning, every simple beat that stretched out from the door behind me. (Noah)
Cave Singers – No Witch (Jagjaguwar)
I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on why or how, but every moment on No Witch seems suffused with joy. Maybe it’s the way Derek Fudesco’s guitar notes dance like afternoon sunlight on the living room wall, or maybe it’s the honest, folksy feel of the foot-stomping energy. Whatever the case, No Witch has become my go-to cheerup album, my foolproof impetus for dancing around the kitchen with gleeful abandon. It’s not that there’s no darkness – “My mind wakes me up every night sir, see devils in my backyard,” Quirk sings on “Black Leaf,” but the bleak and the bright are bundled up together in little boxes of hope. Weather moves in dark patterns, but as Quirk espouses in “All Land Crabs and Divinity Ghosts,” “It’s too big of a world to give up now.” (Brittney)
Constant Lovers – True Romance (self-released)
When Macklemore said “My city’s filthy,” this wasn’t quite what he meant, but as its cover art indicates, True Romance listeners are in for a low-down dirty ride. This album is a tribute to sybarite pleasures of all kinds, from the warm burn of whiskey in your stomach to the red memory of teeth marks on skin, from the hip-thrust of the drums to the thrust of, well, other things. Conveniently, it’s also the perfect soundtrack for the unbridled enjoyment of these recreations. (Brittney)
Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune (Arts & Crafts)
I recently turned thirty. Not long after, I found myself looking back on the 20s version of me and thinking, “What an ass.” 28-year-old Mangan (who, incidentally, is incredibly polite and charming) seems to be going through a similar process a couple of years early, and has done us all the favor of turning it into a delightful album. With endearing honesty and trademark wit, Mangan crafts carefully textured odes and confessionals that reward with every listen. (Brittney)
See the rest of our 24 unmissable records from 2011 after the jump (more…)