We rang in the New Year at a sold-out Showbox with Galen and the gang who are currently ramping up for the self-release of their debut LP come Spring. Seattle hasn’t seen Pickwick since the 4th of July at Gasworks and it’s been February since they’ve had a proper club date, but they have been doing shorter tours throughout the West all year and were in no way rusty. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the band play for more than an hour so stretching it out to a full hour and a half was a nice surprise. Record nearly in hand, they’re obviously excited and primed to take their show on the open road in 2013.
In this blog’s short life the month of December has generally been a dead month of few enticing shows scheduled. Not so this December with Allen Stone, Mountain Goats, The Cave Singers, and David Bazan all headlining various dates, a double-dose of the Moondoggies and Maldives Christmas Special, a Sufjan Stevens holiday special, and Ty Segall and Moon Duo hitting town within days of each other. For us though the culmination of the month and the year will be Pickwick‘s return to a Seattle stage after nearly a year of hibernation and machinations toward building their first full-length. The inclusion of Radiation City and Tomten elevates this dessert to the level of Phineas Q. Butterfat’s “The Ark.”
As of last week the record is done and off to mastering and the band has begun teasing their basement creation with three youtube vignettes so far and a call-in number to preview a few measures of what’s to come. They’ve risen to prominence with some soul fire, but as I’ve come to understand R&B is really just a touching off point for their own grittier experiments. Those of us who’ve ventured out of Seattle to get our fix after their Sasquatch mainstage appearance or came out for their Jason Molina covers at will have strongly gotten the hint already.
Courtesy of the Showbox, we’re giving away two pairs of tickets to the night’s festivities. Each pair of tickets comes with two “swag bags” that include two drink tickets (good for beer, wine, house champagne or a single-shot cocktail), party favors and a commemorative poster signed by the band. Drop your name and a legit email in the comments and we’ll randomly choose two winners at noon, Thursday December 13th.
Staying in on New Years Eve is just sad. Don’t be “That Guy.” Snag tickets ahead of time via showboxonline.com.
If you’re not yet familiar with the evening’s fabulous openers, get to know them after the jump. (more…)
As the sun was going down on Doe Bay, Radiation City sat on the dock in a big line, and started singing. And I couldn’t hear them. No one could.
Doe Bay sessions often attract groups of people wanting a small show tucked in between trees and perched atop cliffs. Normally, this happens. People clap after every take, and exchange grins and happy looks, before sighing, pushing themselves up off the ground, and brushing off the burrs from their shorts. I thought this was one of my favorite parts of the Doe Bay Sessions- the raptured audience behind them, that only appears for a moment as raucous applause as the camera goes out of focus on the blue sky.
But for this, the waves crashed on the beach, and for the people gathered on the rocky embankment above, all we could hear was the ocean and the faint hum of harmony. And still people stayed. I stood above, watching the tireless Sound on the Sound crew and band do takes, and the people nestled into the rocks stayed. I stayed, with a sign taped to my cardigan to Please Be Quiet, Filming in Progress, vaguely offended that the ocean did not heed the demand.
The sun set, and the session ended, and I realized that this Doe Bay session was possibly the first one that no one knew what it really sounded like. No one could say, from the band members to all of us cupping our ears above. The gray din of Orcas had taken it for safe keeping, and the one thing that could have told us how this one would turn out was the only audience member that had absorbed it all- Doe Bay itself. This was not just a Doe Bay Session, it was Doe Bay’s Session. Something that we would take back to the mainland, and that Doe Bay would give back to us, bring us back.
We can finally hear what the waves were hearing, we can finally see what the setting sun saw. All together, Doe Bay is giving us what we couldn’t hear on the beach, or on the cliff- and it is beautiful. It was about time that Doe Bay got its own session, but I’m certainly glad we have it now, because it’s no wonder the waves were cheering so loudly- these are the songs, and the band, that you want to sing the sun down.
Radiation City has been hard at work creating the follow up to their debut album The Hands That Take You, one of our favorite records of 2011. Today we get our first taste of that new record with a video for “Find it of Use,” which got the debut treatment from IFC.com. There’s a menacing beauty to the song, a dream that turns into a nightmare. Especially for the band’s trusty piano.
Radiation City will be releasing a new EP, Cool Nightmare March 6th.
1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
2. Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers – Starlight Hotel
3. Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming
4. Dolorean – The Unfazed
5. Bryan John Appleby – Fire on the Vine
6. Gardens & Villa – s/t
7. Other Lives – Tamer Animals
8. Radiation City – The Hands That Take You
9. Alabama Shakes – s/t EP
10 (tie). Quiet Life – Big Green
10 (tie). Gem Club – Breakers
My Favorite Musical Moments of 2011
1. Mavis Staples Singing “The Weight,” “You Are Not Alone” and “Freedom Highway” back-to-back-to-back at Bumbershoot
Mavis Staples at Bumbershoot ::: photo by Abbey Simmons
2. Kelli Schaefer and Her Mom Singing “Gone in Love” at Cathedrals II
Kelli Schaefer and Mom ::: photo by Abbey Simmons
3. Being Front Row for Charles Bradley at the Aladdin Theater During MFNW
Charles Bradley ::: iphone photo by Abbey Simmons
4. Pickwick Performing (and performing with Pickwick) at our 5th Anniversary Show
5. Slack Fest (all of it)
Whalebones at Slack Fest ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
My Favorite Videos of 2011:
My Favorite Thing I Forgot to Include on the Appropriate Best of List: New Carissa’s Wierd
These new Carissa’s Wierd and the subsequent 7” out on Hardly Art this year, definitely should have been on both my favorite songs and favorite EPs / 7” / cassette of the year list, but absolutely slipped my mind. This is not acceptable.
New Years is the time when everyone dusts off their sparkle, get’s all dolled up, and in place of working imbibes for those same hours. It’s the one day of the year everyone has got off with the explicit purpose of partying. With that in mind any band worth their weight is throwing a worthy shindig and our favorite band out of Portland this year Radiation City trumped everyone with their announcement that they were doing The Love Below, Andre3000′s side to Outkast’s 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
The choice of tribute was perfect for revving up a night of drunken “face-eating,” as Abbey phrased it, and they delivered in spades, raunchy interludes included. Each member rapped. Randy 3000 stepped out from behind the drum, donned a cape and fangs, and laid down the best rapping of the night in “Dracula’s Wedding.” The finale of “Hey-Ya” just prior to midnight saw folks storm the stage to dance. I’m not certain I’ve seen a midnight makeout session like happened after that ever. And Nurses futuristic groove taking the stage right after that only amped up the steamy action in that room. I guess Portland really does know how to party.
Now that we’ve reached the top of our favorite local records countdown, we wanted to have links to all the reviews in one convenient place.
While yes, all these albums were released by either Portland or Seattle bands, we hope you don’t get stuck on “local” as the important part of the descriptor. Because no one outside of the Pacific Northwest released records we loved more than Fleet Foxes, Shabazz Palaces or Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers. So please, focus instead on “favorite.”
It was such a rich year for albums from the Pacific Northwest we couldn’t possibly only share ten records we loved, nor could we enumerate what our 31st or our 23rd favorite records. So next week we’ll be sharing 25 more local records released in 2011 you shouldn’t miss, in much more manageable alphabetical order.
Having fallen deep down a used-vinyl sized hole this year, I managed to completely miss most of the national blog buzz bands and mp3s making the press release copy&paste rounds of 2011, those things that so often fill end of the year lists. But considering the immense output from our little corner of the country, I don’t feel I suffered or starved for new songs to keep me company. These are the forty songs from 2011 that were my soundtrack and that I played on repeat. I’m not bold enough to say they are the best songs of 2011, but they are my favorites.
While this list is not enumerated, my very favorite song of the year, Kelli Schaefer’s heart-aching-to-the-point-of-breaking “Gone in Love,” is at the top with some other absolute favorites. “Gone in Love” is a song that has not lost its emotional wallop despite hundreds of listens and many live performances over the last 12 months. And every time I see Kelli sing it, I can’t stop my chin from quivering. “Gone in Love” isn’t just one of my favorite songs of 2011, it is one of my favorite songs.
That’s hardly true for every song on this list. Every year has its one-hit wonder and I have no shame in saying I played the hell out of 2011′s. Whether its a song that stays with you for decades or a song you only blast until the end of the year, I hope you might discover a new favorite of your own by taking a listen to some of mine.