July 13, 2011

Road Trip to Portland! Music Fest Northwest Unveils Its Full Schedule


Drew Grow and the Pastors Wives ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Sure, Music Fest Northwest (MFNW) starts just a day after Bumbershoot ends, right about the time I think “thank god music festival season is done until March.” But with a schedule like this, MFNW is totally worth extending the festival season and making the road-trip south to Portland. I’ve bolded some of the sets I’m most excited about, though I’m tempted to just bold the whole thing … MFNW has out done itself this year. See you in the front row and in line at Pine State Biscuits come September 7th?

Wednesday, September 7 9:00pm — 9:40pm – The Heligoats at Bunk Bar 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Kelly Blair Bauman at Bunk Bar 10:00pm — 11:15pm – The Kills Crystal Ballroom 11:00pm — 11:40pm – Sean Flinn & The Royal We at Bunk Bar 12:00am — 1:00am – Crooked Fingers at Bunk Bar

Thursday, September 8 6:00pm — 7:00pm – The Joy Formidable at Nike Sportswear Stage at Wonder Ballroom 7:30pm — 8:45pm – Brand New at Nike Sportswear Stage at Wonder Ballroom 8:00pm — 8:40pm – Monarques at Whole Foods Market Stage at the Aladdin Theater 8:00pm — 8:40pm – Breakfast Mountain at Branx 8:00pm — 8:40pm – Viva Voce at Crystal Ballroom 8:00pm — 8:40pm – Mnemonic Sounds at Hawthorne Theatre 9:00pm — 10:00pm – Dennis Coffey at Whole Foods Market Stage at the Aladdin Theater 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Suuns at Branx 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Greylag at Bunk Bar 9:00pm — 10:00pm – Sebadoh at Crystal Ballroom 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Nether Regions at Heineken Stage at Dante’s 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Brainstorm at Hyundai Stage at Doug Fir 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Dirty Mittens at Hawthorne Theatre 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Sun Angle at Holocene 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Ume at at Mississippi Studios 9:00pm — 9:40pm – Dirty Ghosts at Roseland Theater 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Talkdemonic at Branx 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Thousands at Bunk Bar 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Witch Mountain at Heineken Stage at Dante’s 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Purity Ring at Hyundai Stage at Doug Fir 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Hawthorne Theatre 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Blouse at Holocene 10:00pm — 10:40pm – The Needful Longings at Mississippi Studios 10:00pm — 10:40pm – Thrones at Roseland Theater 10:30pm — 11:30pm – Charles Bradley at Whole Foods Market Stage at the Aladdin Theater 10:30pm — 11:45pm – Archers Of Loaf at Crystal Ballroom 11:00pm — 12:00am – Handsome Furs at Branx 11:00pm — 11:40pm – Dolorean at Bunk Bar 11:00pm — 11:40pm – Black Cobra at Heineken Stage at Dante’s 11:00pm — 11:40pm – White Arrows at Hyundai Stage at Doug Fir 11:00pm — 12:00am – Little Dragon at Hawthorne Theatre 11:00pm — 11:40pm – Twin Sister at Holocene 11:00pm — 11:40pm – Richmond Fontaine at Mississippi Studios 11:00pm — 12:15am – Butthole Surfers at Roseland Theater 12:00am — 1:00am – Damien Jurado at Bunk Bar 12:00am — 1:00am – Kylesa at Heineken Stage at Dante’s 12:00am — 1:00am – Phantogram at Hyundai Stage at Doug Fir 12:00am — 1:00am – EMA at Holocene 12:00am — 1:00am – You Am I at Mississippi Studios

See Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s Schedule (more…)

July 1, 2011

Shabazz Palaces at Neumos



Shabazz Palaces ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

This week’s Shabazz Palaces release of Black Up on Sub Pop Records was precipitated by two years of slow build up, and in the last few weeks, a flurry of critical acclaim. Declarations of “Record of the Year” abound by just about every head in town and many outside the 206. But just as I thought Shabazz Palaces was starting to open up in the last few months with Sub Pop now on their team, last night at Neumos they reverted to the shrouded mystery that characterized their first few years as an underground curiosity. In contrast to their last visit to Neumos where Shabazz hosted a variety show of sorts and worked the crowd, Palaceer Lazaro now dressed in all black, sunglasses, vest and fedora included, remaining largely behind his sampler and mic, and when he did move he roamed through a stage of dense smoke glowing with color. Under that fedora, at their brightest, the lights kept Lazaro’s visage an enigma — an occasional glint of a white-toothed grin or shine off his glasses. As I write the word ‘enigma’ I realize this is the word I’ve been looking for in reference to Shabazz Palaces.

Instead of the inevitable call-and-response rigamarole every rapper ever seems to feel obligated to do to fill up time while they catch their breath, Lazaro and partner Tendai Mairare only took time to wipe the sweat from their brow between songs (Lazaro rarely doing that), just once making an effort to include the crowd in their presentation in the “usual” way. An epic wait for a start time (made easier by OC Notes), Neumos in full on sauna mode, some minor volume struggles, and the newest material being front-loaded in the set meant it took a while for things to get really going, and even then the last third of hit-after-hit never fully rescued the energy in the room. The hypnotic meter of Lazaro’s rapid-fire references is entrancing, his vocals are clear and present in the mix making it easy to listen and ride his rollercoaster, if you can keep up that is. Black Up is conceptually dense, containing as many loquacious rap tracks as dance tracks, so the response of the room may have simply reflected this reality. Around midnight “Recollections of a wraith” felt the first track to really spark bodies into motion, even the SP duo themselves had some choreography to help the audience loosen up and get in the right mood.

I’ve been present for each of Shabazz’ three Neumos shows, and this one felt at times the most accessible of the three, and at other times the least accessible. Most accessible because the group has now had time to attract all kinds of fans to their show, no longer was the audience chocked full of discerning scenesters (though I scoped a few of those too). More accessible than I’d guessed as I watched the closing minutes from the back, most everyone on the main floor was moving if not exactly dancing. Less accessible though, than last winter’s highly entertaining variety show, was Ishmael Butler’s return to the unwavering persona of Palaceer Lazaro that we’d met two winters ago in their debut. In truth, the previous events were each a revelation in their own right, formative moments never to be repeated, so to draw these comparisons is probably not fair, but they are the best points of reference we have.

A year and a half on, with a pedestal of critical praise to hold them high, how Shabazz Palaces is able reconcile the rigor of their persona with the demands of a hyped audience who just wants to have fun still remains to be seen. However, whether Ishamael Butler is the most significant rapper in these parts (and maybe anywhere), I won’t argue with you on that. He is. In words and in deeds he makes everyone else in the game look, well, corny.

Shabazz Palaces returns to Neumos tonight for night 2 of their Black Up release shows, with Metal Chocolates and OC Notes in support. (more…)

June 27, 2011

It’s About To Be a Big Week for Seattle Hip Hop


The Physics -These Moments (Video by Zac McConnell) from Zac McConnell on Vimeo.

Excuse the bundled news, but it’s about to be a big week for Seattle hip hop for a number of different reasons and I want to talk about all of them.

Yesterday, NPR debuted a new Ann Power penned feature series called Grind and Shine: Talking Rap in Seattle. The multi-part feature finds Powers (who while no longer a resident, we still claim as one of Seattle’s best music writers) returning home and interviewing notable members of Seattle’s burgeoning and booming hip hop community at area coffee shops. With help from local music blogger Andrew Matson and photographer Kyle Johnson, the feature will shine a national spotlight on local artists like The Physics, Metal Chocolates, THEESatisfaction, and Jake One. We can’t wait to read it.

Even without NPR, folks were sure to be talking about Seattle hip hop this week. Tomorrow, Shabazz Palaces’ highly anticipated Sub Pop debut will drop. Black Up is already critically acclaimed, garnering a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork today with an 8.8 rating from Seattle’s own Eric Grandy. Black Up album has the potential to be the biggest hip hop release out of the 206 since Mix-A-Lot and come December, expect to see it perched atop Best of the Year lists far outside our area code.

Shabazz Palaces celebrates the release of Black Up with performances all over town:

KEXP – Tuesday at Noon Easy Street (Queen Anne) – Tuesday at 7pm (all ages) Neumos – Thursday June 30th and Friday July 1st

And while it might not be NPR or Pitchfork, local hip hop is getting lots of love here in the 206 too. You’ll find Macklemore on the cover of July’s City Arts Magazine where he and Sir Mix-A-Lot share a conversation in part about hip hop and Seattle. You can also check out The Physics just released video for “The Moments” right here. You can start your week off right with a special set from the excellent OC Notes at tonight’s Jet Set at the Capitol Club and plan for a Saturday night with Fresh Espresso at The Crocodile.

June 1, 2011

Bumbershoot 2011 Line-Up



Bumbershoot ::: photo by Josh Lovseth



After a band a day in May, Bumbershoot has burst with its full day-by-day line-up. We’re loving the local selection including: Shabazz Palaces, Grand Hallway, Lemolo, Pickwick, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, My Goodness, Ravenna Woods, Curtains for You, Whalebones, Allen Stone, Kaylee Cole, The Lonely Forest and lots more. Though it’s soul singer Charles Bradley and Brooklyn’s Sharon Van Etten who I’m most delighted to see make the line-up, their inclusion make Monday the Fest’s unmissable day for me.

Saturday 9/3

Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs with Vusi Mahlasela / Minus the Bear / Mavis Staples / Little Dragon / Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue / STRFKR / Shabazz Palaces / Warpaint / MarchFourth Marching Band / Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible / Eyehategod / Väsen / Champagne Champagne / Astronautalis / PS I Love You / Yuni in Taxco / Campfire Ok / Meklit Hadero / Caleb Klauder Country Band / Craft Spells / Valient Thorr / Jayme Stone: Room of Wonders / Pickwick / Red Fang / Scribes / Wagons / Shelby Earl / Free the Robots / Witchburn / Nice Nice / Kris Orlowski & The Passenger String Quartet / Emancipator / Tomten / Pezzner / LawnChair Generals / The Great Mundane / Natasha Kmeto / DJ Nordic Soul

Sunday 9/4

Wiz Khalifa with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis / Broken Social Scene with The Lonely Forest / The Kills / Butthole Surfers / Carbon Leaf / Leon Russell / Toro Y Moi / Anti-Flag / Das Racist / Vetiver / Jessica Lea Mayfield / Dam-Funk / Atari Teenage Riot / NoMeansNo / Tennis / Thee Oh Sees / Mad Rad / The Jim Jones Revue / School of Seven Bells / Joe Pug and the Hundred Mile Band / Davila 666 / AgesandAges / Wayne Horvitz Café Paloma Band / Kore Ionz / Sol / Whalebones / Allen Stone / Massy Ferguson / Tycho / Thomas Marriott’s Human Spirit / Kaylee Cole / Com Truise / HTRK / Lusine / Gail Pettis Quartet / Kasey Anderson and The Honkies / Shigeto / The Sight Below / DJ Justin Timbreline

Monday 9/5

Daryl Hall & John Oates with Fitz and The Tantrums / The Reverend Horton Heat / Over the Rhine / Phantogram / Grant Lee Buffalo / Urge Overkill / Charles Bradley / Vendetta Red / Sharon Van Etten / Dennis Coffey / Head Like a Kite / YACHT / Greensky Bluegrass / Quadron / Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils / Grand Hallway / You Am I / Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside / My Goodness / LAKE / Beat Connection / Purity Ring / Truckasaurus / Ravenna Woods / Curtains For You / Lemolo / SPLATINUM / Legendary Oaks / Mash Hall / The Horde and The Harem / 214 / WD4D / Ill Cosby / DJ Introcut

May 16, 2011

Why We’ll Be in Ballard All Day on Friday: KEXP



Country Dave Harmoson of the Lost High Rollers ::: photo by Josh Lovseth



KEXP is giving Seattle residents a mighty fine reason, lots of them actually, to set up camp in Ballard early Friday morning and stay all day and all night. During their last pledge drive it was Ballard who came through in the clutch, donating more than any other neighborhood and to celebrate, KEXP is throwing an all-day party that we can all enjoy, even if 98107 isn’t our zip code.

We’ll see you bright and early for Dave Bazan’s 7am at The Sunset … you’ll bring the coffee, right?

Live Broadcast from the Sunset Tavern (6:00am-9:00pm):

7:00am – David Bazan 9:00am – Yuni In Taxco 11:00am – Point Juncture, WA 1:00pm – Buffalo Tom 3:00pm – Joan As Police Woman 5:00pm – Shabazz Palaces 6:30pm – The Black Crabs 8:30pm – Marshall Scott Warner

With live DJ sets from John Richards, Cheryl Waters, Kevin Cole & Shake the Shack with Dr. Leon Berman. This event is free, open to the public and all-ages.

Afternoon Acoustic Performances at Cupcake Royale

2:30pm – Jason Dodson of The Maldives 4:00pm – Eric Elbogen of Say Hi 5:30pm – BOAT

Featured Evening Showcases at Various Ballard Venues

The Sunset Tavern – 9:30pm / 21+ / $8 Public /$6 KEXP Donors

Point Juncture, WA Joshua Morrisson Yuni In Taxco Hosted by KEXP’s DJ Tim

Tractor Tavern – 9:30pm / 21+ / $10 Public / $8 for KEXP Donors

The Cops STAG The Golden Blondes The Chasers

A Benefit for Keith Bartoloni of Hazelwood, hosted by KEXP’s Hannah Levin & Kurt Bloch

Conor Byrne – 9pm / 21+ / $8 Public / $6 KEXP Donors

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers [Two Sets] Ghosts I’ve Met

Hosted by Kurt Reighley & Hans

KEXP DJ’s Spinning at Various Ballard Drinking Establishments

Hazelwood – DJ Mr. West: 8pm – 10pm (FREE)

BalMar – Bike to Work Day After Party with Wo’ Pop, Darek Mazzone and DJ Rhythma: 5pm – 8pm (FREE)

Ocho – Quilty 3000: 9pm – 11pm (FREE)

Portalis Wine Shop & Bar: Larry Rose, DJ Shani – 8pm – 11pm (FREE)

Hattie’s Hat: Greg Vandy (Guest Barender from 5 to 8pm), Don Slack & Marji Makers DJing 8-10pm (FREE)

April 4, 2011

My Most Played: March 2011




Robin Pecknold with Edward Droste – “I’m Losing MyselfZoe MuthStarlight Hotel (out: 4/19) Radiation City – The Hands That Take You Posse Every Mississippi Records LP I can get my hands on Night of the Living Vinyl Mix Amy Blaschke The Golden Blondes Damien Jurado – Four Songs (EP) Gene Clark – White Light (LP) Smokey Brights ::M∆DE::IN::HEIGHTS:: – Skylark Interbang The Head and The Heart – Fuel/Friends Chapel Session Karen Dalton – It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best (LP) Bill Callahan – “Baby’s Breath” Shabazz Palaces – “An Echo From the Hosts That Profess InfinitumThe Lonely Forrest – Arrows Dillard & Clark – “Don’t Let Me Down” Pickwick – Myths Vol III (EP) Strong Killings

March 21, 2011

The Daily Choice: Shabazz Palaces – “an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum”


I worried that no song Shabazz Palaces ever released would ever surpass the haunting thump of their breakthrough single “Chuch”.  It would be no surprise if the band never was able to find another beat some grimily eerie, or a connection with that beat so streamlined.  Everything they’ve produced since has rang with the same simplicity and all has been enjoyable, I just haven’t found the track that tick tocks my heart to the rhythm of the beat.

Until now.

“an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum” is constructed along a similar line as “Chuch”.  The ghostly boom-bap overlayed with Butterfly’s hard and conscious flow.  Where “Chuch” sounded like an announcement though, this sounds like a call to arms.  The reversed, reverb drench sample a wailing siren behind Butterfly’s camo-covered spitting.  Makes me feel tough just listening to it.

Shabazz Palaces new album Black Up is due from Sub Pop on May 31st.

Shabazz Palaces – “an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum”

February 10, 2011

Sub Pop Signs Local Again, Congrats THEESatisfaction



The second worst kept secret in Sub Pop history was confirmed yesterday, though not yet officially announced, by Andrew Matson and Larry Mizell Jr.. In under a year Sub Pop has signed a second Seattle hip hop act and their third local group, adding queer female inter-galactic, socially-conscious rappers THEESatisfaction to their roster. THEE are the female compatriots of and collaborators with now label-mates Shabazz Palaces and their signing, remind that Sub Pop is still in touch with its outsider roots and that they’ve refocused on music being made in their backyard. More details about this new partnership should be available as soon as Sub Pop makes the official announcement and we’ll be sure to share it here.

Before that, we recommend you buy your tickets today for next Thursday’s Sub Pop double header at Neumos with Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction. The last time Shabazz took that stage, it was one of the most memorable shows of the year and with the promise of lots of collaboration between the groups, we assure you this is another show you don’t want to miss.

January 6, 2011

A Tip of the Hat – our 2010 MVP’s



Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

We had an incredible 2010 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, bookers and sound guys 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 Live Act – Drew Grow & the Pastors Wives

No one impressed us in 2010, from performance one and from living rooms to the Showbox, like Drew Grow and the Pastors Wives have. No one even comes close. Here’s what we had to say about the band’s stirring live shows:

“Inevitably, after Drew sings I am left thinking, “that must be what people who believe in God feel like when they sing and hear hymns.” It is a performance enjoyed with eyes closed tightly, arms raised aloft to the stage, heads thrown back in ecstasy and exultation and a sense you are witnessing something as a collective, not an individual. I don’t attend church anymore and I moved on from believing in God to believing in music and the people who create it, and seeing Drew Grow live is as close to a religious experience as I will ever have.” – abbey


Kelli Schaefer ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

MVP Performer (Female) - Kelli Schaefer

Phil said it best when describing Kelli Schaefer, “This woman right here, she’s a hurricane.” Rarely have seven words so succinctly described a musician and all without an adjective. Kelli is not what she seems as she steps on stage. Soft-spoken and ghostly pale, Schaefer bellows with a voice that spans emotion, time, range, timbre and comprehension. She is none of our preconceived notions about a fragile girl with a guitar and when she belts out that first note and bitter beautiful words, we are astounded. I’ll always remember filming our Doe Bay Session with Kelli this August; standing there with an acoustic guitar, our wonderful sound guy made some assumptions about what would be coming out of Kelli. She peaked out the recording with the first note, nearly blowing out Chris’ ear drums. He threw off his headphones in shock, but with a huge smile. We could have stopped her right then, knowing we’d have to record again, but why would deny ourselves the opportunity to hear that astounding voice one more time? – abbey


Macklemore ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

MVP Performer (Male) – Macklemore

Facing life and his problems head on, for the benefit of all and with the help of friends, Ben Haggerty, AKA Macklemore now lives with his life on his sleeve. Equally a reverent nostalgic and a modern popaholic he’s able to bring us into his world and impart the wisdom of a colorful life with humor and seriousness in equal and complimentary doses. A party MC to the core, when most kids are too cool to jump, Macklemore walks up on stage and people can hardly contain themselves. No other acts entertain like Macklemore does, and that is pretty much the definition of who we should be handing this MVP out to. As far as I’m concerned Haggerty deserves a double MVP for being the top Northwest Rep in all the land. Maybe I’ll save that one for next year… – josh


Bryan John Appleby at Conor Byrne Open Mic ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

MVP Venue – Conor Byrne

Conor Byrne isn’t just where music is played, it’s where music is made. It’s where musicians are made. From the all-in “Old Timey Social” hour to Sunday’s Open Mic often curated by the Head and the Heart’s Josiah Johnson, musicians of all stripes and levels rub elbows, learn from each other, and maintain their own self-supporting community. Worthy as a bar in it’s own right serving the best Jameson Ginger in town, as a comfortable space where some of Seattle best songwriters can try out new songs in front of peers it’s gained status one of Ballard’s hangouts. When on any given Sunday night you might see three or more notable personality’s take the stage doing what they do in a more informal setting, each night ends up a special memory in it’s own right. -josh


Doe Bay Fest ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

MVP Festival – Doe Bay Fest

Josh remarked in his Doe Bay Fest 2010 recap:

“I think we might need to come up with a new word for what Doe Bay Fest is. Sure, it has a few stages, great bands are present, and it is nominally about seeing music. But calling it simply ‘a music festival’ doesn’t communicate the quality of interaction that a gathering in this setting encourages and makes possible. For four solid days I had no want to leave. In actively forgetting our worries and forgetting about clocks, Doe Bay became a real-life Utopia for those present, if only for an instant. And that’s not something that happens at just a ‘music festival.’”


The Head and The Heart ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

MVP New Band (Local) – The Head and the Heart

From Pike Place to the Paramount, the Head and the Heart have traveled an astonishing road in 2010. Once the ball started rolling for this sextet it just never stopped, from an unusually full High Dive on a Wednesday after Abbey introduced them to the world, to snagging a spot at Capitol Hill Block Party, to supporting the likes of Dave Matthews and Vampire Weekend and selling out a headlining bill at Neumos weeks ahead of time as their first show of 2011, all less than nine months on. It almost defies belief. Had I not seen it with my own eyes I would have said it does defy belief. Yet to see a crowd young and old react to them with equal fervor is to know the power of the smile and the hug, and to believe in it. Maybe that’s sappy, but I mean it. And that’s just what this band brings out in people. – josh

MVP Debut Album (Local) – The Head and the Heart

From Abbey’s exclusive sneak peek at their debut album:

“The Head and the Heart sing of life’s greatest journeys with uncanny confidence, knowing and a genuine glow. They may be young and the band may be new, but they sing of leaving home, the trials, stumbles and exhilaration of finding yourself, the tumults of love and the inevitability of loss, all with a sage-like comprehension of our humanity. If you love bands drenched in pretense or that keep themselves metaphorically aloof, you’ll hate The Head and The Heart. This band is unadulterated joy and boundless hope for the future laid bare in three-part harmonies, bubbling bass lines and warm pop orchestration that embraces you in a full-on hug. They are a recipe for a palpable rise in your mood, an antidote to counter the poison of our fast-paced days filled with calculated and impersonal interactions.”


Steve Norman with Goldfinch ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

MVP 6th Man (musician who plays around town w/different bands) – Steve Norman

There are a bevy of mighty fine slide-guitar sidemen in this town, but none are quite the character that is Steve Norman. You could be forgiven for wondering where Norman finds the time. He is everywhere doing semi-regular and guest duty in a constantly growing number of bands including but not limited to Goldfinch, Ghost of Kyle Bradford, Big Sur, Friday Mile, John Totten, Carrie Biell, Chris Pureka, Barton Carrol, Other Desert Cities, Husbands Love Your Wives, and Ben Gilmer, Sadie Ava, Greg Paul, Aaron Ebige, Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo, Steve Leslie (Chuckanut Drive), AP Dugas and the Ganges River Band. (His list.) When given the opportunity to conjure something right at that moment in impromptu guest appearances with the likes of Kelli Schaefer and Luke Stevens, he seems to effortlessly find a new texture to add, country or psyche, edgy or ballad. In one go at it he’s the accompaniment you never knew was missing. To invite Steve Norman onstage is, like inviting bikini models to your pool party, a double-edged sword. Yeah, you know pool parties are cool all by themselves, but they are indescribably better with a few models to just do what they do, you know, look good in bikinis and pretty up your party. Only after that first time you invite those models, pool parties won’t ever be the quite the same without them… You get the idea. – josh


Carissa’s Wierd ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

MVP Label – Hardly Art / Sub Pop

Really all I need to say to back up this MVP is: Carissa’s Wierd. The Moondoggies. Shabazz Palaces. The Head and The Heart. AFCGT. In 2010, Sub Pop and Hardly Art put their money where their mouths (and offices) are when it came to signing and supporting local talent.

Hardly Art’s reissued releases and “Best Of” from Carissa’s Wierd were the albums I listened to most in 2010, by a lot. Hardly Art managed to bring me CDs from the band that didn’t cost 100s of dollars on Ebay, first time vinyl presses, and the band on stage and in front of me live … all things I never imagined I, as someone who missed the band the first time around, would ever witness. All the while they faithfully supported my long-time favorite local band, releasing not one but two albums from The Moondoggies. Its the kind of thing that music fans would bequeath their first born to see a label do; but Hardly Art did it all for the right reasons in 2010 — because they’re moved by the music and they know they don’t have to look far outside their front door to find talent. (Though Sub Pop’s non-local releases from 2010: Beach House, No Age, Avi Buffalo are certainly nothing to sneeze at …) Most importantly, I get to keep my first born, my double colored Carissa’s Wierd vinyls and new Moondoggies … and for that, Hardly Art / Sub Pop are most certainly MVP worthy. – abbey

You can read (some of) the Sound on the Sound staff’s personal MVP’s after the jump … a label, a booker and a sound guy! (more…)

December 31, 2010

2011 is Full of Potential



Lemolo at Conor Byrne ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

In nearly every conversation I’ve been having lately, there’s been a reoccurring theme: that something is happening in the Seattle scene, across genres, and that a certain energy exists right now locally in a way not seen for years if not decades. This energy seems to have gathered independently in nearly all of the successful sub-genres in Seattle, but also across and within the larger community that supports the Seattle music scene.

For those outside of Seattle, thanks to the likes of Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction and Macklemore, 206 hip hop has been getting national recognition in 2010, and we expect it will continue to do so in 2011 in part thanks to this marked diversity. The Lonely Forest, with the help of Chris Walla turned in a stellar EP that begs the question, if those were all album b-sides, how good is that full length in March going to sound? The band with the most people talking in Seattle in 2010 was (no surprise) the Head and the Heart, and we’ve no reason to believe that electricity isn’t going to translate on a national and international level in 2011.

From a local perspective, the energy on display also emanates from the more general creative musical M.O. that Seattle’s been fostering. While Seattle may be known across the world for Cobain and Vedder, the current batch of musicians aren’t cognizant of any expectation toward filling their shoes, and instead seem to relish building something as unique as possible for themselves. And aside from a creative standpoint, the young guns in town are building new self-supporting scenes of their own that will endure beyond the interest of the latest single. Truckasaurus and Head Like a Kite have welcomed all kinds of collaboration this year, and on both counts local hip hop rose to the challenge. The Campfire OK, Artists Home and Bombs over Bellevue families are all actively feeding back within their own groups and producing their own narrative of what will be the next thing. A walk down to Conor Byrne open Mic on Sunday night will reveal the scene in live action motion before your eyes, some of our area’s best songwriters out on the sidewalk nervously practicing and performing songs they’ve just written yesterday.

Though the likes of My Goodness, Hobosexual, and Unnatural Helpers can still give Seattle the claim of being the hotbed of rock n’ roll that it longs to retain, nowadays Seattle could just as easily brand itself a town of folk, modern rock, hip hop and or Americana. Outsider rock gained momentum here because that kind of unbridled creativity and feedback had the freedom to happen and thrive here, and now we’re seeing those values manifest on a larger scale two decades later. Above any reputation begotten of a vaunted time, that feedback is what makes the larger Seattle scene special.

Below you’ll find a list of the local bands who we think will be making the biggest impact on a local and/or national level in 2011, in no particular order. Ten come out of Seattle, in addition to one from each of the larger metropolis’ to the north and south.