January 14, 2013

Sharon Van Etten Joins Pickwick on new Single from their Debut Record

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Pickwick‘s just announced the release of their debut record, Can’t Talk Medicine, to arrive March 12th, 2013. Before the record arrives though, it’s lead single with Jagjaguwar’s Sharon Van Etten is being packaged up in a covers EP that includes a Damien Jurado cover released last year and new recording of live staple “The Ostrich.”  Listen to their cover of Richard Swift’s “Lady Luck” above with Van Etten singing the first verse, and then snag the whole EP on iTunes tomorrow.

Snag the single for yourself for free with the widget below:

April 5, 2012

On Repeat: Pure Bathing Culture – “Ivory Coast”

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“You’re what I love the most.”

As far as I’m concerned, Richard Swift is batting a thousand in 2012 and the latest project his ears and hands have graced, Pure Bathing Culture‘s self-titled debut EP is another home-run.

Pure Bathing Culture is Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille, who you may recognize from their other band, Vetiver. (And Hindman laid down the psycedelic guitar solo on Damien Jurado’s “Nothing is the News,” another one of Swift’s sonic successes.*) While their other projects are all Laurel Canyon haze, the sounds they’ve created as Pure Bathing Culture are bright and shimmering, crisp like a Seattle summer night after the sun sets, your skin is still warm from the daylight.

While “Ivory Coast” is the EP’s stand out track (go directly to Soundcloud to download it for yourself), you can get a taste of other tunes from the band’s Bandcamp. “Silver Showers” has a distinct 80′s flair, Cyndi Lauper is wishing she recorded it (which I say as a compliment) and “Lucky One” scratches summer’s yacht-rock itch with synth.

Pure Bathing Culture’s debut EP is due out May 22nd on Father/Daughter Records.

You can catch them live on April 21st at Barboza with Caveman. Portland, you can see ‘em at Mississippi Studios the following day, also with Caveman.


* full disclosure: I work as an associate manager for Damien Jurado.

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 14, 2011

Abbey’s Favorite (Almost Entirely Local) Songs of 2011

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Kelli Schaefer ::: photo by Dylan Priest

 

 

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.

 

 

“Gone in Love” – Kelli Schaefer “Before the Night is Gone” – Zoe Muth and Her Lost High Rollers “Montezuma” – Fleet Foxes “Letters” – Lemolo “I’m Not Leaving” – Big Sur

“I Found You” – Alabama Shakes “I’m Losing Myself” – Robin Pecknold / Edward Droste | download “Father’s Clothes” – Grand Hallway “Leaves, Trees, Forest” > “Rows of Houses” – Dan Mangan “Boys” – Bryan John Appleby

“The Round” (From the Basement) – Pickwick “Park” – Radiation City “Twins” – Gem Club | download “Mute” – Joshua Morrison “My Silver Hand” – Case Studies | download

The rest of my favorite (almost completely local) songs of 2011 (more…)

October 17, 2011

Gardens & Villa [photo post]

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Gardens & Villa ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

The best dance parties I’ve been to this year haven’t happened on Capitol Hill on a Friday night. Instead, they’ve been at Ballard venues on usually mellow Monday and Tuesday nights and they’ve both come courtesy of Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa. Their show last Tuesday at The Sunset was no exception. Even Seattle’s most stoic show goers couldn’t help but bust a move to Garden & Villa’s experimental pop tunes. An enthralling mix of electronic and organic, combining synthesized loops, wooden flute solos and the standards (guitar, bass, drum), Gardens & Villa manage to bring something unique to the stage and their record, while remaining accessible.

I’m not keen on grand predictions, but with their party ready tunes that would sound absolutely perfect outdoors, surrounded by throngs of thousands on a summer day, I predict you’ll be seeing Gardens & Villa on every major festival line-up of 2012. And if you don’t, some booker has dropped the ball big time.

Gardens & Villa ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

Gardens & Villa ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

September 29, 2011

My Most Played: September 2011

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As for the first two tunes, my niece is due any day now, in fact she was due on Tuesday and in the weeks leading to her arrival, I’ve listened to these songs so many times BMI is going to start charging me. Tom Petty was right, the waiting IS the hardest part.

Tom Petty – “The Waiting” Justin Townes Earle – “Can’t Hardly Wait” Kelli Schaefer’s Doe Bay Session Been Here All My Days Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost Gem Club – Breakers Dan Mangan – “Leaves, Tree, Forest” Canon Bros – “Out of Here” Robin Bacior – Rest Our Wings Numero Group Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues Quiet Life – San Luis Opisbo Damien Jurado – “The Loneliest Place I’ve Ever Been is In Your Arms” Champagne Champagne’s Doe Bay Session Richard Swift – “Lady Luck” S – I’m Not As Good As You Avians Alight – s/t Apricot & the Beginners Sera Cahoone’s Doe Bay Session

The Lonliest Place I’ve Ever Been (Is In Your Arms) by saintbartlett

September 1, 2011

My Most Played: August 2011

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Lana Del Rey – “Video Games” (Not keen on the video, or her in the video rather, but the number of times I played this song this month is embarrassing) Gem Club – “TwinsLemolo – “On Again, Off Again” and “Fort Warden” Dolorean – “Don’t Leave Town” Boyfriends – s/t 7” Keaton Henson – Metaphors 7” Cumulus – s/t EP Carissa’s Wierd – “Meredith and Iris” Wild Ones – “You’re A Winner” Aquairum Drunkard – Clifton’s Corner mixes Damien Jurado – “The Loneliest Place I’ve Ever Been (Is In Your Arms)” Big Sur – “I’m Not Leaving” Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune Lowlands – “Give Me Love” Cataldo – Prison Boxing Richard Swift – Blanch Runderton Presents: “Smelly Iceburg”

Blanch Runderton Presents: “Smelly Iceburg” by Richard Swift

August 3, 2011

Gardens & Villa – “Spacetime” [video]

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“Spacetime” by Gardens & Villa from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

My vote for the trippiest video of the year goes to Gardens & Villa.

They’re also my vote for the new band who’ll be playing every festival in 2012. Get to know them now.

You’ll have a chance on October 11th when the band will be back in Seattle, playing at the Sunset. Their last Seattle show inspired an all-out dance party. On a Tuesday. At the Tractor. Easily one of my favorite shows of 2011.

August 2, 2011

My Most Played: July 2011

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Dolorean ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Dolorean – The Unfazed (yes, again) Gardens & Villas/t Bryan John Appleby – Fire on the Vine Dillard & Clark – Through The Morning, Through The Night Richard Swift – “Broken Finger BluesStrong Killingss/t Shenandoah Davis – The Company We Keep Case StudiesThe World is Just a Shape to Fill the Night Radiation CityThe Hands That Take You Wild OnesYou’re A Winner EP PDX Pop Now! 2011 Comp Charles Bradley – “Stay Away” (Nirvana cover) Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter – Marble Son Fly Moon Royalty – s/t Lemolo – “Letters” Pickwick – “Window Sill”