January 16, 2011

Abbey’s 20 Favorite Local Records of 2010

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Damien Jurado ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Our big, written properly, not just a list of The Top 25 Northwest Albums of 2010 is coming soon, really, WE PROMISE. But today I wanted to share my personal favorites of 2010. Also, my number one most listened to local album of 2010 was basically a “Best Of” compilation, so I decided not to include it. If I had though, Carissa’s Wierd’s They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave would be perched near the very top.

1. Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett 2. The MoondoggiesTidelands and You’ll Find No Answers Here 3. The Head and The Hearts/t 4. SI’m Not As Good At It As You 5. Dan ManganNice Nice Very Nice 6. Avians Alights/t 7. Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wivess/t 8. Hoquiams/t 9. Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam BandWhere the Messengers Meet 10. Ravenna WoodsDemons and Lakes

Ravenna Woods ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

11. LemoloSingles EP 12. The Lonely Forests/t EP 13. The LightsFailed Graves 14. What What NowFingers and Toes 15. Baltic Cousinss/t EP 16. Joseph Giants/t 17. Salmon ThrasherWhat Gives and Thrashin’ USA 18. Macklemore and Ryan LewisThe Vs. Remixes 19. Hobosexuals/t 20. Shannon Stephenss/t

Four albums I love that I haven’t had enough time with to make a judgment … my best guess though? Had they come out earlier in the year, they’d be in that Top 20:

The SolventsForgive Yr. Blood Drew Grow – The Comfort Feel EP Le Sang Songs/t Cobirds Unites/t

August 30, 2010

Download Salmon Thrasher’s Final Seattle Songs – Thrashin In the USA

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Don’t let the name, tongue-in-cheek song titles and subjects or their nonchalant, goofy online presence fool you. Salmon Thrasher mean serious business. While the band has clearly embraced the ridiculousness of their name, calling their latest release Thrashin in the USA (recalling some long lost Beach Boys cover band or a Beach Blanket Bingo gag) the bands songs and their ear for no-bullshit, hook-laden garage pop prove they are anything but a joke.

If they were a joke, they wouldn’t have worked nearly so hard. In the short 8 months since their first show Salmon Thrasher has played just about every venue in the city, most of them a few times. And in that same time, they (along with lead singer Justin Ripley) have release six solid EPs of original material.

Thrashin’ in the USA, their latest and last before Ripley moves to New York City, finds the band’s sound and DIY recording at its most fully realized, and dare I say, refined. Sure, this is still straight up sloppy lo-fi tunes, but the sound quality is better than many debut records that bands shell out thousands for in studio time and mastering. And these, like all of Salmon Thrasher and Ripley’s local releases, were recorded in basements and bedrooms. Ripley’s licks are as sharp as razor blades and drummer Tara Sloan drives the record forward with crisp stick work that never allows the momentum of the album to lag. Anchoring the album is Evan LeSure’s limber bass lines, in moving at a slower, but no less sure pace than the rest of the band he is the sunny spine to the songs; recalling the bass work on some of the surfy retro sounds sweeping the internet from Beach Fossils, Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls.

These might be DIY recordings and they might have a joke name, but there’s nothing amateur going on here and there’s no reason that Salmon Thrasher shouldn’t be able to find a larger audience outside of Seattle if they continue to write songs. There’s only two things about Thrashin in the USA that I don’t like. One: its just 15 minutes long and I want more. Two: its the bands last foreseeable Seattle release and I want more.

Download Salmon Thrasher’s Thrashin In the USA for free.

August 10, 2010

If You’re Not Going to Doe Bay, You’re Going to This: Salmon Thrasher’s Final Show

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There is one gigantic throbbing painful regret about attending this year’s Doe Bay Fest, it means we’ll be missing Salmon Thrasher’s final show. One of the most pleasant surprises of 2010, Salmon Thrasher came out of nowhere to satiate our hunger for no bullshit rock’n'roll, which we’d been practically starving for. We caught the band’s very first ceiling crumbling performance in December of 2009 and probably five other times in their short life, the fact we’ll miss their final show (and that their final show is happening so soon) will be a raw wound for some time to come.

If you’re not a 3 hour ferry and drive away, this is the show you should be at Saturday. Not only is it the last chance you’ll have to see the mighty Salmon Thrasher, you’ll also have the chance to be introduced to two bands that could fill the raw rock void they’ll leave behind. First is the phenomenal My Goodness, whose Black Keys go punk is one of the most sloppily satisfying sounds happening in Seattle today. With Salmon Thrasher gone, its easy to assume they’ll be taking the title of my favorite new local rock band of 2010.

Another solid option to fill the Salmon-sized hole in your heart are Birds of Paradise, who’ll be playing their first show. Made up of members of The Ironclads (including Sound on the Sound’s own Phil) and the Whore Moans/Hounds of the Wild Hunt. While the band’s sound is a departure from the member’s beloved previous projects, the three songs I’ve heard have kept my attention and sound like a promising Pabst-in-hand soundtrack for 2011.

Please Seattle, since we can’t be there, promise us you will be.

June 21, 2010

The Ironclads Return

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Otherwise known as “things that make me ridiculously happy.”

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June 7, 2010

Justin Ripley Interviews Rooftop Vigilantes; Sound on the Sound Radio is Born

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Welcome to the first edition of “Sound on the Sound Radio,” otherwise known as “Justin Ripley is one of the funniest, most prolific guy we know and when he has an idea, we happily play along.”

When Justin, lead singer of Salmon Thrasher and Showbox sound guy, proposed recording a podcast for Sound on the Sound with Rooftop Vigilantes, a raucous rock band from his hometown of Lawrence, KS, we said “of course” and kept our fingers crossed. What we got back was like a delightful Christopher Guest take on an NPR interview gone horribly wrong … complete with monotone voice-over, momentum halting questions and a moment of dead air courtesy of a passing ice cream truck.

Unlike the sludgy grooves of Salmon Thrasher, Rooftop Vigilantes offer short anthemic blasts of rock that are at once bright and fuzzy. They’ve been described as a “very drunk Fugazi” and that sits well with me. Or as Justin put it, “One of the main unfortunate things about your band, well there are a lot of unfortunate things, but the main one is you’re completely amazing and that’s all I’ve been listening to the past three months, but yet, you’re band will probably never be successful.”

Listen for yourself and then check out both Rooftop Vigilantes and Justin Ripley (as frontman for Salmon Thrasher) this Saturday June 12th at the Sunset. If you have any requests for which band Justin interviews next for Sound on the Sound, leave them in the comments … we loved this initial podcast so much, of course we asked him back for more.

Sound on the Sound Podcast 01 – Justin Interview’s Rooftop Vigilanties by soundonthesound

May 10, 2010

Fish Fry Rock

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My Goodness ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

One of our favorite late-night eateries the Pike Street Fish Fry hosted some afternoon rock yesterday. Though it was an unconventional venue, and they we’re actually serving fish for some reason, Salmon Thrasher and My Goodness made it a great event for a sunny afternoon.

Salmon Thrasher ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Salmon Thrasher ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Flickr: Fish Fry Rock with Salmon Thrasher and My Goodness

April 6, 2010

Salmon Thrasher’s Debut Album “What Gives” Available Now

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Salmon Thrasher ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Salmon Thrasher just couldn’t wait the week until their scheduled CD release date, so they’ve made their debut album What Gives available to download free now.

We can hardly blame the band. The simple sludgy songs and straight up retro rock has had us hooked since their first live show and the album retains the raw swagger that makes Salmon Thrasher a magnetic live band.  There’s no clever concept or high minded fidelity about this album, it’s just a simple rough-around-the-edges rocker done right.

The band officially celebrates the release of Give Up next week on April 17th with a cd release show at the Blue Moon. Download the album now and you’ll know all the proper notes to head bang to.

March 8, 2010

Free Energy, Foreign Born and Salmon Thrasher at Chop Suey

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Free Energy ::: Press Photo

First impressions are meant for job interviews, not the music business. In case you’re like millions of other Americans and myself, you forgot what it’s like to go to a job interview. Let me refresh your memory. A job interview is when you dress up, go to the location of the job you are applying for and proceed to tell the person (or people) interviewing you why you should be hired. You’re the best. You work really hard and never sleep. You say your prayers and eat your vitamins. You’ll say whatever gets you a paycheck. Sometimes the gamble pays off but more often than not, especially nowadays, you’re just not what they’re looking for.

So when I saw Salmon Thrasher’s first show at my neighborhood bar, Café Racer, I didn’t let my first impression of them be my final one. It was a weird show. There were some technical difficulties, the songs sounded like they were still coming together and I remember at one point, a piece of the ceiling fell down upon them during their set. Sigh. Why is it that first shows always feel the weirdest? Flash forward a couple months and this band is legit. They sounded especially tight on Chop Suey’s stage. Chugga-chugga-choo-choo they were a well oiled machine. The only thing I ask is when they are done putting together their album; I want them to use a salmon shredding a half-pipe on the cover. If you’re going to use a name like Salmon Thrasher for your band, you’ve got to take advantage of all the literal imagery you can to represent your band.

Next on stage was Philadelphia’s Free Energy, a band who is currently on tour with the night’s headliner, Foreign Born. Now before I completely rip this band to pieces, I want to start with the positives. These dudes can all play their instruments, the lead guitarist in particular. They write songs that sound great. What I mean by that is, the songs they write sound good, but the actual songs are pretty forgettable. When you listen to this band on Myspace you think “I mean this isn’t the worst thing ever, just kind of sounds like a band that really likes the Strokes, playing Battle of the Bands in suburbia somewhere…” I mean we’ve all heard bands like that. However, the thing that really hurts Free Energy is their live show. Too much posturing, at points I thought I was watching (and I’m totally_fucking_serious) the Jonas Brothers or a skinny jean version of Hanson. It was one of the most inauthentic performances I’ve ever seen. Rock n’ roll should never be this harmless, especially if you’re from Philly. At times I felt completely emasculated just watching these dudes. And it’s sad, because bands like this get to play good shows and huge festivals like SXSW, all the time. And for what..? Because they might have some sort of mass appeal that in all probability won’t actually be realized? Sure, bro. Free Energy might want to do something about this little problem of theirs. Maybe they should just become the Beatles and stop touring? All I know, judging from the other night, onstage they look like some guys who are in a band for the sake of saying that they’re in a band. So I guess it was fitting that they played a show on Capitol Hill. With all that being said, I’m not going to let my first impression be my final one. If I have a chance to see Free Energy again, I’ll take that chance. I wouldn’t mind them proving me wrong.

Foreign Born were much different than the rock n’ roll switchblade riot that is Salmon Thrasher and the Hello Kitty pop of Free Energy. They had this “We kind of sound like Yeasayer, if you’re really not into that first Yeasayer album,” thing going on. The lead singer kept on reminding of Bono. I blame it on the hat he was wearing and the acoustic guitar he was strumming in the forefront. At one point he was harassed by a drunkard who was wearing an Ozzfest shirt, and needless to say, the Ozzfest guy was obviously at the wrong show. Foreign Born was certainly different and interesting. “Vacationing People” was my favorite song that they played. The band has a lot of elements within it, but none of them go outside their boundaries. I say that to mean they’re completely complimentary: everyone is doing what they have to do to make the song sound as good as it can. I can appreciate that because it’s much easier said than done, and especially when egos can potentially get in the way. Foreign Born, I salute you.

February 1, 2010

An Invitation to Abbey’s January 2010 Listening

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Dave Bazan performs “Bad Diary Days” – 1/08/10 in a Seattle Living Room

These are the songs, bands, and sounds that I’ve started off my 2010 with. Lots of new bands I’d never listened to before 2010, many who I think we’ll be sharing much of the year with. Take a listen and maybe, just maybe, you’ll  find your first favorite new band, album or song of the new year! Thanks for starting 2010 with Sound on the Sound, we’re looking forward to sharing another great year of local music with you.

Sharon Van Etten - Because I Was In Love and “Love More Drew Grow & the Pastors’ Wives – “Colder by the Minute” and “Friendly Fires” Kelli Schaefer – “Gone In LoveThe Ironclads – “Emily” (download here) Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollerss/t debut Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside - Myspace Demos and any YouTube I can find Moon Duo – “Stumbling 22nd St.” (from Noah’s Daily Choice) Whalebonesevery new song on myspace and their Morning Man EP from 2007 Vic Chesnutt – “I Flirted With You All My Life” Ravenna WoodsDemons and Lakes Salmon Thrasher – Myspace Demos Emperor XThe Blythe Archives Pedro The Lion – “Bad Diary Days” (see a Sound on the Sound video above from 1/08/10) Goldfinchs/t PhantogramEyelid Movies (out on Barsuk February 9th) Fences – “Sadie-” from GIVE Seattle The Moondoggies – “Side of the Road” from GIVE Seattle Beach House - Teen Dream The Maldives – “Go Back to Virginia” (new Maldives tune)

December 12, 2009

Salmon Thrasher’s Ceiling Crumbling Debut

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Salmon Thrasher ::: all photos by Abbey Simmons

Last night in the intimate living room setting of Cafe Racer, Salmon Thrasher played a set of  sloppy garage rock so forceful the ceiling actually started crumbling. Instead of Chicken Little calling “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” it was Salmon Thrasher’s drummer Tara who peered nervously upwards as chunks of ceiling fell on her kit.

If you haven’t heard of Salmon Thrasher yet, don’t feel too bad… it was their first show last night. But get hip to this band now because they’re one you’ll be hearing lots more about in the coming months on this here blog and others around town. Seeing that it was the band’s first show and they were playing in what is only sometimes a  live music venue, the set was rife with technical issues. (Surely frustrating to Justin and Evan who are sound guys at two of the city’s biggest venues: the Showbox and Neumos.)

Despite the first show jitters and technical issues it was the bands undeniable knack for dirty grooves, deafening assault by bass, some serious swagger in their delivery, a couple super solid original tunes, and their leering cover of The Box Tops “The Letter” that stood out the most. It seems almost ridiculous to say this in the city the Grunge and Garage built, but Salmon Thrasher’s rough around the edges rock was a much needed breath of cheap cigarette smoke taking me back to 2006 when we first started the blog and this style and sound was more prevalent. I suspect many of you will be shoving and screaming along to Salmon Thrasher in 2010. I know I will be. 

Get a head start on 2010 and see Salmon Thrasher December 20th at Neumos for the Neumos Employee Band Bill.

Salmon Thrasher ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Tara holds Part of the Ceiling after a Samon Thrasher Song ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Salmon Thrasher ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

The Ironclads ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

The Ironclads with Jonny of the Whore Moans on Guitar and Vocals ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

More photos of Salmon Thrasher’s Debut with The Ironclads HERE on Our Flickr