December 2, 2011

Our Favorite Photos of 2011: Fort Union



Fort Union ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

As this photo reminds, there’s few finer things in the world than singing with friends.

Fort Union plays The Comet next Friday December 9th with Smokey Brights.

December 2, 2011

Postcards from the Road: Smokey Brights – Part III



And of course, no West Coast Tour is complete without shark hunting in Santa Cruz.

Smokey Brights are playing next Friday, December 9th at the Comet Tavern with Fort Union.

November 30, 2011

Postcards from the Road: Smokey Brights – Part I



From Postcard one, we could tell Smokey Brights were going to be excellent penpals. We’ve got a couple more cards from the fellas coming this week.

October 20, 2011

Recommendations: City Arts Fest on Friday


Built to Spill ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

There are so many great options for Friday Night courtesy of City Arts, you’re bound to see a solid show basically no matter where you end up. Keep in mind that individual tickets are sold out for Ryan Adams, Shabazz Palaces and Pickwick, so you’ll need to have a wristband to be able to attend those shows.

Here’s our recommendations for Friday night.

Built to Spill at The Moore

Ancient Melodies of the Future. Has an album title ever so poetically expressed the sound of a band? I’m not sure one has. Built to Spill writes music with something for almost every rocker: stoners, indie-shoegazers, classic rock shedders, garage-dwellers. They’ve managed to take influences and make a sound completely their own and edging through its own evolution. You hear those melodies of the past, though their influences are hardly ancient, but Built to Spill always manages to live and sound more in the realm of the future. Their City Arts performance is their only stateside performance of 2011 and they are one of the most consistently excellent live bands making music today. I’ve seen them at least 10 times and have never wished I chose another show or set. (Abbey)


Ryan Adams at Benaroya

I’m a voracious consumer of Seattle’s veritable buffet of local talent. With City Arts presenting its wares so beautifully, it feels almost sacrilege to go to a national act this weekend. There are few artists that could even tempt me away from Friday’s shows like Bryan John Appleby or Pickwick. One of those artists, however, is Ryan Adams. Steeped in heartbreak and dysfunction for most of his rambunctious career, Ryan Adams has proved himself to be a prolific songwriter, releasing records almost on top of one another, and ones that sound completely different one to the next. Shaking the image of a country’s new darling after his release of Heartbreaker in 2000, Adams has made a career of being unexpected, at turns inaccessible, and enormously talented. Adams writes songs that can range from abstract (“Two” is about painkillers, didn’t you know?), to jarringly honest (all of Love is Hell), to downright weird (“Halloweenhead”), and has brought along a raving fan base with each turn. After 2010′s record, a sci-fi metal departure called Orion, Adams has released Ashes and Fire, a return to his dirty guitar days. The supporting tour for Ashes and Fire has been hushed and private, with no photographers allowed, and very few recordings. I was able to listen to a recording of his show in Denver, and it was jarring in its beauty. New arrangements of songs from his whole, varied, emotive catalogue, and a gentler Adams than the stories of his belligerent stage antics portray. It could be argued that Adams has lost his edge with the change from his whiskey swilling, bottle throwing era, but he’s a man that bears up change radically and unselfconsciously, and we would be fools to miss out on what he’s offering now. (Kathleen)

Shabazz Palaces ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

Shabazz Palaces, Metal Chocolates at The Triple Door

“I’m free to be a slave to all these things I can’t escape…” – Shabazz Palaces on “Free Press and Curl”

Universal sentiment from a group that doesn’t write music for everyone. Hip-hop for those who live on a dystopian planet. ATLiens was supposed to extra-terrestial, and for its time I guess it was. However, if aliens do exist (shutup, the truth is out there), I promise you that Black Up would be only album they’d be listening to. The Greys, sitting around their coffee shops in a different galaxy, complaining about how they can’t bitch about the weather because they live in outer space. It’s a tough life being miscast in movies such as Independence Day and the ones that star Sigourney Weaver. Shabazz Palaces are on this earth to make music and serve as ambassadors to beings from different planets. I see you in the crowd, thinking that you comprehend the music that Shabazz Palaces are giving you. Gentle readers, they are communicating on a different realm…literally. Now give me that homemade mix drink that you smuggled in here. Metal Chocolates. I used to read this group’s name and think about the band Seaweed. Don’t ask me why. Then I heard it on KEXP one day and was like “Oh, this is hip-hop. How much are these yams?” Seriously, that’s exactly what I said because I was at a fruit stand and they were playing KEXP on their speakers. Fruit stands are cool like that. Support your local vendors. “Candy Store Controller” reminds me of these crazy dreams I used to have as a kid. I’m not going to go into them but let’s just say they involved Ginger Baker (the drummer from Cream) Latrobe, Pa. and the use of inhalants. I’d love to see Hallmark use this song for the during the next Valentine’s Day. Nothing says “I love you” like finger snaps, bon-bons and mescaline. What was that honey? Oh, that’s just my stereo. I close my eyes and I start hearing things…. (Phil)

Read the rest of our Friday recommendations (more…)

October 7, 2011

Video Rewind to Seattle Summer with Curtains for You and Smokey Brights on the Beach


Smokey Brights ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Sitting in my house with gloves on, its hard to believe this was just a little over a month ago. These photos and videos got buried in Bumbershoot and Doe Bay Session editing, but with the chill of fall upon us I dove into editing and uploading shots and videos from when we still had our bare feet buried in the sand. The last of the Artist Home Bonfire Series, one of my favorite additions to the Seattle summer featured sets from Smokey Brights, Matt and Mike Gervais of Curtains for You and a torch-lit sing-along to Wilson Phillips. What can I say … that sun just does something to us in Seattle.

You can catch Curtains for You this Saturday as part of Reverb Fest. (And maybe they’ll play this new tune.) And you can catch Smokey Brights next week as part of City Arts Fest.

Matt and Mike Gervais of Curtains for You ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Matt and Mike Gervais of Curtains for You ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

And the Wilson Phillips sing-along …

July 27, 2011

City Arts Fest Announces Line-Up: Robyn, Ryan Adams, Built to Spill & More



Robyn ::: photo by Josh Lovseth



City Arts Magazine has announced the line-up for their second annual City Arts Fest, held this October from the 20th to the 22nd, and once again they’ve shown an upstart music festival can compete with the big boys in terms of star power. Big name national and international acts include: Robyn, Built to Spill, Ozomotali, Blackalicious, Crystal Castles and Ryan Adams. And, much to our delight, City Arts has mined some of the best of the Northwest as openers and headliners on their own including: Pickwick, Allen Stone, Mudhoney, The Long Winters, Cataldo, Campfire OK, Fastbacks, Fences, Smokey Brights, Bryan John Appleby, Joseph Giant, Grand Hallway, Lemolo and more.

And it’s not just music, there’s lots of local artists: poets, authors, dancers, filmmakers and more are featured. We’re especially excited to see our favorite local poet Kate Lebo on the schedule as well as a show billed as an All-Star Replacement tribute.

The full, day-by-day schedule is below. Tickets go on sale next Friday, August 5th and 3-day wrist bands are $69.

What show are you most excited for?

October 20

ROBYN w/ special guest tba CRYSTAL CASTLES w/ Picture Plane, Crypts, Nightmare Fortress THE LONG WINTERS w/ Campfire OK, Cobirds Unite, Cataldo THE FELICE BROTHERS w/ special guests tba ALLEN STONE w/ Fly Moon Royalty CULTURE CLUB: Washington Film Works Event and Happy Hour SEATEETH: Premiere performance from Seattle’s Jose Bold (John Osebold of “Awesome”) POGO w/ That 1 Guy, Daydream Vacation CULTURE CLUB : Visual Art HORDE and the HAREM w/special guests THE COPS w/ Birthday Suits, Strong Killings CULTURE CLUB: Celebrity Karaoke HEDWIG and the ANGRY INCH: Movie Sing Along SCHOOL of ROCK: Laser Grunge Show

See the rest of the line-up (more…)

July 22, 2011

So You’re Not Going to Capitol Hill Block Party …



Luckily there are still plenty of other musical choices we’d recommend off Pike Street this weekend.

Friday, July 22nd:

Portugal The Man – Easy Street Queen Anne In-Store (6pm, FREE) Big Sur, The Smokey Brights, Stephen Nielsen – The High Dive Kelli Schaefer, Shenandoah Davis and Paper Bird – The Warehouse, Tacoma M. Bison, Eternal Faire, Boxcar Rebellion – The Sunset PDX Pop Now! – Jared Mees and the Grown Children, Weinland, And And And – Refuge, Portland (FREE)

Saturday, July 23rd:

Elk and Boar – Columbia City Theater The Torn ACLS, River Giant – Skylark Cafe Vicci Martinez – The Triple Door PDX Pop Now! – Nurses, Loch Lomond, Wild Ones and more – Refuge, Portland (FREE)

Sunday, July 24th:

Jeremy Messersmith, The Thoughts – High Dive Ben Fisher and Dylan Pratt of Moya (FREE) – Columbia City Theater Tit Pig (FREE) – Comet Tavern Katy Lin & The Moonlight Riders; Gregory Paul, Gibson Cima, & Annie Ford Mercury; Shannon Stephens – Tractor Tavern PDX Pop Now! – Kelli Schaefer, Radiation City and more – Refuge, Portland (FREE)

Have a great weekend whether you’re catching shows on the Hill or somewhere else!

July 18, 2011

Smokey Brights – “Wine From a Jug” (Acoustic)


We’re big fans of Smokey Brights, the surprising new project from Hounds of the Wild Hunt bassist Ryan Devlin and What What Now guitarist Mike Kalnoky. And by the looks of it, we’re not the only ones. Leo, featured here at the end of the video, is just over a year old and he’s already trying to join the band.

You can catch the Smokey Brights, sans toddler and as a full band this Friday at the High Dive, where they’ll be opening for Big Sur’s CD release alongside another Sound on the Sound favorite, Stephen Nielsen.

May 8, 2011

Sound on the Sound Mailbag (Mother’s Day Edition)



Happy Mother’s Day!

You probably didn’t know this, but I keep a diary mailbag for all Sound on the Sound’s readers. When your real-life friends aren’t enough, when your family has decided that you are a racing horse with a broken leg, when your parole officer simply “doesn’t have time for this emotional shit,” you come to me. Usually your cries for help get lost in the trillions of press releases I get about bands I don’t care about. However, every once in a while, I will take time out of my busy schedule to put a star next to your e-mail in my Gmail account. Then many days later, I will resurrect your problems and put a metaphorical band-aid on all your ouchies. I do this because I want you to sleep with me it’s been a long winter and I don’t want to inspire anymore depressed singer/songwriters. I’m hoping if I cheer enough people up, we can eliminate contrived folk music, together. Let’s go to the mailbag….

Dear Phil,

My mother is really into BOAT’s latest album Dress Like Your Idols. She’s always blasting it in front of my friends, while she’s force-feeding our cat anxiety pills and when she does P90x workouts. I’m a huge fan of BOAT but I’m afraid if my mother keeps on getting down with this “sloppy guitar pop” that I will grow to hate BOAT. I blame my sentiment on that whole “You Can’t Like What Your Parents Like” teenager syndrome. What should I do?

- Forever in Armitron (Tacoma, Wa.)

Dear Forever,

I totally understand what you are saying. When I was growing up I was really into Tony Orlando and Dawn. My love for Tony and his hair was so intense that I actually developed a rare childhood disorder where I went around tying yellow ribbons on every tree I could see. My mother ruined it by becoming a bigger Dawn fanatic that I could ever dream of. What you need is an alternative. Are you familiar with Neighbors? They don’t sound like BOAT, but they are cool, just like BOAT. You like Stephen Malkmus right? Well, unfortunately for you, he’s not in this band. Nevertheless, if Mr. Malkmus ever listened to Neighbors, I bet he’d approve.

Dear Phil,

My parents just recently got divorced and I’m having trouble dealing with it. To make matters worse, my mother’s main reason for filing for divorce? She wants to be “hood rich.” She’s tired of tangible wealth, valuable assets and a good credit score. She wants to be with a man, who doesn’t mind stabbing another man, when it comes down to who is getting stuck with the bill at Denny’s. Where can I find such a man?

- Searching for Chris Brown (Tukwila, Wa.)

Dear Searching,

Good grief, your mother sounds like a psycho hosebeast pretty unreasonable woman. I don’t think she wants a man with a felony on his record. I am under the impression that your mother is looking for some adventure. After you take her out for brunch today, you should seriously consider taking her to Nectar tonight for Raekwon and Fatal Lucciauno. Are you going to find a felon there? I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that Raekwon put out one of the most iconic hip-hop records of all-time (Only Built 4 Cuban Linx) and that Fatal has been a Seattle hip-hop mainstay for as long as I can remember. Tickets are $20 and the doors open at 8pm. Don’t forget that you’re the one paying for the tickets! There’s a place in hell just for you if you let your mother foot the bill on Mother’s Day!

ps – If the bitch wants doubles, buy her doubles!

Dear Phil,

I recently just got engaged to the most wonderful woman in the entire world. My only problem is that my wife-to-be has a mother that really likes Steve Miller Band. It wouldn’t be that bad if she were only into Fly Like An Eagle, but she never stops playing Side A of Abracadabra! It’s killing me. I don’t want to call off the engagement but I’m seriously considering washing my hands of all this nonsense, calling up an ex-girlfriend I don’t even like, knocking her up, doing the honorable thing and marrying her, rearing some children, working a job that I hate, becoming addicted to booze and Viagra cocktails, searching for my spirit animal, thinking about moving to Hollywood… [letter continues for another 600 words..too long to publish]

- The Joker (Seattle, Wa.)

Dear Joker,

Settle down man, I am not a miracle worker. I can’t help you find your spirit animal.  What I can do is give the best possible advice on getting your future mother-in-law to eliminate her Steve Miller Band fetish. Seriously though, why Abracadabra? This is a code red. We’re going to have to bring out the big guns. You need to let this woman know that you have a heart that beats. It’s 2011 and we need to podcast your intentions. My advice, soften her up a little bit with some John Heart Jackie, Smokey Brights, Youth Rescue Mission and Lemolo. I officially endorse all four of those acts. In fact, that Youth Rescue Mission record is absolutely crushing my soul right now. It’s so good. However, you don’t want said mother-in-law to think you’re a complete pussy that you are eager to follow in the footsteps of Chris Carrabba and/or Morrisey. You’ve got to show the mother of your future wife that you don’t mind catching an assault charge if someone looks at your old lady the wrong way. What better way to illustrate this than by giving her some Carbomb, Racebannon, Wizard Rifle and Owen Hart tracks? You want to show that you’re Prince Valiant and can protect your woman? Don’t buy a gun, create an effective podcast that will win the heart of your lover’s mother. Last but not least, you don’t want to come off as a man of extremes. Nothing is scarier than a man who hides his emotions like a real fucking man can’t control his emotions. You need to include some OCnotes, Battlestations and Gun Outfit in that podcast as well. Let her know that just because you’re an overgrown man-child that can’t fucking deal reality sometimes, at least you think critically about the fact that you can’t get your shit together.

Keep those emails coming. Until next time…