October 9, 2012

The Daily Choice: Tony Caro & John – Forever and Ever

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Say what you will about my musical knowledge (limited and hampered by a constant case of musical ADD) but I’m still on the discovery end of English folk rock.  Oh sure, Light In The Attic’s Michael Chapman releases are gangbusters, but that’s where my toe dip ended … until now. Drag City just put out this bizarrely amazing album by English folk trio Tony Caro & John and I am astounded by what it does to my perception of the genre. I imagined English Folk to all fall in to the Pentangle mold with just a hint of renaissance and a lot of acoustic string plucking (forgive me if my knowledge of Pentangle’s sound seems aptly unresearched) but Tony Caro & John sound like they we’re riding the wave of the early surf rock kids. There’s a real sort of 60s engine rev to this song that plucks it right out of the dark void of my proconceived notions and makes it one of the best oddities I’ve heard in awhile. Every music person I look up to adores English Folk, and Tony Caro & John seem a dynamic representation of why that is.

Tony Caro & John’s highly sought after album All On The First Day was recently reissued by those geniuses over at Drag City.

Tony Caro & John - Forever and Ever

March 22, 2012

The Daily Choice: Bo Diddley – I Don’t Like You

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Three things I have learned from listening to just one song off of Bo Diddley’s psych masterpiece Black Gladiator:

1. Light In The Attic Records no matter what you hide yourself as (Modern Classic Recordings, Cinewax, or Future Days) you wiley clydes you, are top three greatest curators of forgotten music in the last ten years. Do not ask me the names of the other two or even the seven below them because I will just scoff with ignorance. Just know that if an association with Light In The Attic is felt you should buy the album on feeling alone.

2. Bo Diddley is not some old man that sat on a chair and played the blues, he is a strange strange robot creature that crafts music pulled from a future world where music is made by jive-talking space machines and everyone has silver afros.

3. You haven’t heard anything until Bo Diddley sings “I don’t like you” in a strangled operatic tone before being rebuked by what seems to be a drugged out groupie. Nothing, nothing at all.

Light In The Attic subsidiary Future Days is reissuing Black Gladiator on CD only. Find it, buy it, revel in it’s strange historical context.

Bo Diddley – I Don’t Like You

January 26, 2012

On Repeat: Michael Chapman – “You Say”

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I have a nasty habit of getting stuck on a single song. Not sort of stuck, more like playing a song more times in a month than most folks listen in a lifetime. My most listened to song of 2012, which I was sent on New Years Day, has been played 93 times. According to iTunes I’ve listened to Damien Jurado’s “Working Titles” 228 times, and Maraqopa isn’t even out for almost a month.

Give me a few more days with Michael Chapman’s “You Say” and it’ll be well on its way to those numbers:

“You Say” comes from Light in the Attic’s first release of 2012, the reissue of Chapman’s 1969 debut album Rainmaker. And after hearing it for the first time yesterday, I’ve listened to almost nothing else. This is the song so many singer-songwriters stuck on British folk from the ’60s are still trying to write. And while I’m surely fond of their flattery, today I’m happy to listen to the inspiration instead. Over and over and over again.

You can pick up Light in the Attics reissue of Rainmaker from their online store or at your local independent record store.

December 27, 2011

A Tip of the Hat – Our 2011 MVPs

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Pickwick ::: photo by Christopher Nelson

 

We had another incredible year here at Sound on the Sound and it was in large part thanks to the following MVPs and, of course, you guys reading this. These were the artists, albums, labels, festivals and well, your dancing, that inspired and impressed us most and these are the people that remind us every day why we wouldn’t trade our local music scene for anywhere else in the world.

MVP Local Live Act: Pickwick

When a friend sent me an mp3 of “When Rosa Speaks” last summer saying he’d found my new favorite band, I wondered what on earth he was thinking. When Josh and Ty said they were going to film a new video series and start with Pickwick, I told them it was their time they were wasting. When Josh asked to book Pickwick for our 30th birthday show, I agreed begrudgingly. And when Pickwick took the tiny stage at The Blue Moon that January night, limbs and instruments and energy over-flowing, I proceeded to kick myself for the rest of 2012 for being so daft. That friend, Josh, Ty, they had been so right, and I had been so, so wrong. And to make up for that error I saw every remaining local Pickwick show of 2011, including the night I had surgery. I never once wished I was anywhere else seeing any other band. Because Jay Cox was right last August, he had found my new favorite local band and as evidenced by sold-out show after sold-out show, one of your favorite new bands too.

Pickwick simply puts on a hell of a show. They defy expectation with their sound, their Star Wars-centered banter, by getting Ballard Ave (and beyond) to dance, and the pipes on Galen Disston. Dark doo-wop and call-and-response songs about death and destruction both physical and spiritual, often inspired by musical heroes of the band (Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, Richard Swift) — Pickwick writes smart songs and put on performances that manage to appeal to my two month old niece, my nearly 70 year old parents, Seattle’s alt-weeklies and the managers from all over the country who clamored to sign them this summer. On the strength of these shows, hooks for miles, and the broadness of that appeal, Pickwick has gone from opening shows to 30 people to being asked to summer festivals and headlining a sold-out 1,000 person Neptune Theater, in just a year. In 2012, with their first major tours on the horizon and their debut full length to be released (likely on whatever label is lucky enough to be chosen by the band), I foresee the same pattern playing out all over the country … only skipping that whole playing to 30 people in towns they’ve never visited and it happening much, much faster. (abbey)

 

Charles Bradley ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

 

 

MVP National Live Act: Charles Bradley

It’s hard to explain the true affects of a live Charles Bradley performance, much less three in the span of a magnificently hot September week, other than to say I will come back to these different nights of performances as some of the most personally valuable musical moments I’ve ever experienced. Unearthed by Daptone Records and matched with a time-tested soul outfit in an age of copy-and-paste pop, Bradley is a rare breed of performer with a life of loss, “heartaches and pain” behind him to provide a valuable perspective that’s coming from a place of pure love and will for a better world, no bullshit. “Why is it so Hard” chronicles his life story culminating in the tragic death of his brother whom he was living with at the time, and at this point it’s hard not to tear up as Bradley himself seems to do at turns while performing. With glistening eyes he’ll turn around, doff his sparkled stage coat and stun the audience during “Golden Rule” or another upbeat number with a series knee-drops, mic-swings, the occasional worm, and of course some scream-inducing hip-thrusting for the ladies. James Brown would be proud of the hip-thrusts but also the performance as whole I think. Various luminaries have come out of performances claiming this is as close to Otis Redding as we’re likely to see and I’m hard pressed to argue. Though I’m not sure Otis ever danced quite that well. (josh)

 

Wild Flag ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

 

 

MVP Performer (Female): Wild Flag

You have seen a band perform the same songs three nights in a row, what do you want to:

a) never see that band again b) see that band sometime next year c) see that band every night for the foreseeable future.

If you’ve answered c, lucky you, you’ve just enjoyed three nights with Wild Flag.

After three nights with Wild Flag this November, my only wish was for more. Why hadn’t I gone on the entire tour? Why wasn’t this the beginning of the tour, not the end? Wild Flag, despite releasing their debut record this year, are road-warrior veterans with a first class indie and punk pedigree: Sleater-Kinney, The Minders and Helium and with their forces combined, this foursome is unstoppable on stage. Wild Flag are masters of their instruments and craft, not “for girls” (even if this category is gender based), but for anyone. Janet Weiss’ drumming recalls the greats, Carrie Brownstein is an iconic rock vocalist with a knack for writing songs that sound familiar and forward-thinking at the same time, Rebecca Cole’s piano adds a spooky psychedelic edge that elevates the band and Mary Timony is Wild Flag’s not-so-secret weapon, she straight up (yet somehow subtly) shreds with riffs that will be stuck in your brain for months. It was she who I couldn’t keep my eyes off of night after night.

The real joy of watching Wild Flag though is not just the band’s technical chops, but how much fun they seem to be having. The kind of chemistry the band shares on stage isn’t something you can practice. It’s either there or it’s not, and watching Wild Flag you feel like you’re watching four talented friends have the time of their life. And you can’t help but want to join in.

Extra Bonus Points: their cover of Television’s “See No Evil” was my favorite cover of the year.

Emeritus: Kelli Schaefer

 

Allen Stone ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

 

 

MVP Performer (Male): Allen Stone

Allen Stone’s flagrantly funk visage calls Seattle home, and though 2011 is the year he became a cover-boy and prime-time name, he’s been making small moves nationally for years now. Splitting his time between New York, LA and Seattle Stone built up a quality collection of tracks recorded with some soul heavyweights and waited for over a year to release his self-titled second record until the timing was right. Early in the year with the addition of an ace touring band representing as much young personality as Stone himself does the 25-year old Chewelah-bred pastor’s son was able to tour, capitalize, and make it all come together so that when Bumbershoot, City Arts Fest, and then Conan came calling he was prepared. Stone’s thick glasses and northwest-sheik aren’t exactly uniform attire for a classic soul sound, exemplifying that neither is his approach, but the bottom-line is he and his band have no trouble getting entire rooms dancing and the finer sex screaming. In a recent conversation Stone remarked about the new found attention, “It’s crazy. Less than a year ago I was playing the High Dive.” Having to add a second show because your first ever time headlining a 1000 cap room sold out a month of time says it all. Kinda like what happened to our previous winner of this MVP Macklemore did just about this time last year (eventually adding a total of three Showbox shows). (josh)

Emeritus: Macklemore

Read the rest of our MVPs including festival, debut album, 6th man & every writer’s personal MVP of 2011 (more…)

December 16, 2011

Our Favorite Local EPs, 45s & Cassettes of 2011

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2011 wasn’t just a great year for local full-lengths, awesome releases abounded in all formats: EPs, 7”s and yes, even cassettes. In fact, Phil’s favorite local release of all of 2011 was Mercy Ties and Grenades split 12”.

Here are 15 of our favorite local EPs, 7”s and cassettes of the past year and our favorite nationally released EP with links to listen or look at each of them:

Mercy Ties / Grenades 12”

Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Finest In Funk & Soul 1965–1979 Limited Edition 45s Box Set

PickwickMyths

Night BeatsH-Bomb

Joshua MorrisonBuilder

Richard SwiftWalt Wolfman

Richard Swift “Whitman” by DOJAGSC

10 More of our Favorite Local EPs, 7”s, Cassettes & Our Favorite National EP of 2011 (more…)

December 12, 2011

Favorite Photos of 2011: Wheedle’s Groove

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Wheedle’s Groove return to the CD ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

With little fan fare, no press releases, no marching band, no mayor’s decree, Wheedle’s Groove returned to play the Central District for a mid-afternoon show in a park on the dead-end of a street a couple blocks away from my home. When I saw the tweet from Light in the Attic Records, whose re-releases re-introduced Seattle and the world to the Seattle’s bustling soul scene in the ’60s and ’70s, I grabbed my camera and ran. This wasn’t just a show, it was history.

A small crowd of family, friends and curious neighbors sat on picnic blankets, park benches and dewy grass. A “merch booth” was set-up on a picnic table and Ish from Shabazz Palaces and the ladies from THEESatisfaction watched intently as Ron Buford, Overton Barry, Cold Bold and Together, Robby Hill, Frankie Brown and other’s took the stage, passing the mic around, telling stories and reveling in their return home. Everywhere you looked, there were smiles. Smiles of reminiscence, talking about the days of back-bar performances and dances of Seattle soul being played on local CD radio. Smiles between friends stepping on stage together, cheering each other a long from the crowd and the rhythm section. Smiles of inspiration, from musicians making music in the CD today.

When the curfew came for the concert to end, no one wanted it to stop. Before the final song, “Five More Minutes,” which gave us at least five more, a couple celebratory words were said. “It didn’t rain on us. And nobody fought. All I do it is for the music. I don’t got money in my pockets, I got holes in my pocket.” Feeling my own empty pockets, the Seattle sun above me, smiles all around me, good music being made by good friends, at that moment, I’m not sure any of us could’ve asked for anything more.

Wheedle’s Groove return to the CD ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Wheedle’s Groove return to the CD ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Light in the Attic and Wheedle’s Groove celebrate the release of their gorgeous new limited edition boxset of Seattle soul 45s tomorrow at The Crocodile. The evening is free and your favorite Wheedle’s Groove stars will be signing autographs.

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November 21, 2011

All I Want for Christmas Is … The New Wheedle’s Groove 45s Box Set

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I did some serious damage at Mississippi Records this weekend, so I’m not allowed near a record store or pre-purchase link ’till 2012, but on the top of my wishlist is this brand new limited edition Wheedle’s Groove 45s Box Set from Light in the Attic Records coming out this Friday.

The box set features reissues of ten rare 45s from the celebrated Seattle ’60s and ’70s soul scene. (You can get a taste of all ten, A & B sides on LITA’s website.) Original copies of these 45s can go for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars in the collectors market and while the 2,000 limited edition copies in this box set aren’t quite as expensive, they’re just as valuable for any local music lover. As a special treat, the first 50 folks who order the set when it is available this Friday will get 2 autographed photos and a set of 16 replica Seattle SuperSonics trading cards.

Even if you don’t order one of the first 50, the box set comes with those ten Seattle soul and funk 45 gems, a glossy 96 page book featuring rare photos from the golden era of Seattle soul and funk, brand new liner notes from Jonathan Zwickel, a replica Seattle Supersonics trading card and to top it all off, a previously unreleased CD featuring never-before-heard sessions from Robbie Hill’s Family Affair. The sessions, recorded in 1975 in Los Angeles, had been lost for decades until the recent discovery of the original multi-track masters.

Does all this mean I’ll be hitting refresh on the Light in the Attic website at midnight on the 25th, ignoring my record buying ban and digging out my credit card? Most likely, yes.

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And if you’re not yet hip to Wheedle’s Groove or the awesome soul sounds made in Seattle in the ’60s and ’70s, spend your Thanksgiving break watching the excellent documentary.

August 6, 2010

The Daily Choice: Gabor Szabo – Comin’ Back

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I used to work for Light In The Attic and a lot of amazing things (including The Daily Choice and my association with the very wonderful folk at Sound on the Sound) came from it.  It’s been a while now since our paths have parted but the love I have for the fine folk who run this label still flows fervently through my veins.  Emotional asides aside, the taste makers behind Light In The Attic also have some of the most refined taste in reissues working today.  Every album they release is worth at least a listen, a liner note read through, and then another listen, because there’s gold behind all of it, sometimes you just have to let it sit for a moment.

That is not the case with their newest reissue of Gabor Szabo’s Jazz Raga.  A bizarre mish-mash of jazz and sitar and psych and the sort of cosmic space sound that ran rampant through the time.  It is beautiful and haunting and compelling and strange in a way that only multiple listens can truly impress upon a listener.  A year ago when the higher ups told me that Gabor Szabo would be on our slate for the following year I worried, unknowing of what to expect when someone used the words sitar and jazz in the same sentence.  My fervent listening of the album has produced two lessons: Gabor Szabo is the man and never question Light In The Attic, they’ll always steer you right.

Gabor Szabo – Comin’ Back

Buy this amazing album right here.

September 14, 2009

Wheedle’s Groove Vinyl Giveaway

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After last weekend’s Bumbershoot experience, I’ve been in a soul state of mind, firing up Rhapsody and playing some certified oldies. When I have my midlife crisis and need to become a completist at something, I may have to become a classic R&B, funk and soul vinyl collector. Were I already one such person, an essential member of that collection would be 2004′s Wheedle’s Groove compilation, subtitled “Seattle’s Finest in Funk and Soul 1965-1975″ and curated by local DJ Mr. Supreme.

MP3: “Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother” by Black on White Affair from Wheedle’s Groove courtesy of Light in the Attic Records

In addition to a re-release of the original Wheedle’s Groove comp, this week via Light in the Attic comes to the table with a new entry into the Wheedle’s Groove collection. Titled Kearney Barton after the classic sound engineer who was enlisted to cut the nine new tracks on completely analog gear in his home studio, a number of the songs feature the same old school soul cats as appeared on the first comp. In true NW fashion they’ve even snuck in a cover of Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose” with Pat Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir.

MP3: H.O.E. by Ron Buford from Wheedle’s Groove – Kearney Barton courtesy of Light in the Attic Records

Thanks to LITA we’ve got two vinyls, one of each record, to give to the first lucky commenters who claim them (one vinyl each). If you’re a new commenter and your comment isn’t approved immediately, your timestamp will still make you a winner. Please include your real email address (which remains publicly hidden) so I can let you know you’ve won.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be a winner, you can buy the vinyl editions of these records from LITA’s website straight away.

June 17, 2009

Rodriguez did Paris, is coming next to our west coast

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I don’t know about you, but I am mega-excited for my chance to finally see Sixto Diaz Rodriguez live at the Triple Door next Tuesday. In the re-emergence of interest following the re-release of his first album, local label Light in the Attic has arranged for a summer-long world tour of sorts to coincide with this year’s re-release of his second album Coming from Reality, and next week finds him playing a string of west coast dates.

Above is a just posted video of the man himself performing “Crucify Your Mind” in the streets of Paris, recorded during his trip to Europe earlier this month. Courtesy of L’Express, you can also check a companion video of him playing “Inner City Blues” and explaining the background of the song.

For Tuesday’s June 23rd Seattle stop at the Triple Door, Rodriguez will be backed by a full band, and Arthur & Yu (with the Moondoggies) will be opening. Tickets are available on the Triple Door site for $20.