March 31, 2009

The Shackeltons on NPR’s All Songs Considered


The Shackeltons ::: Photo by Abbey

Two years after being introduced to them, The Shackeltons remain my favorite band making music today. Sure, I’ve seen hundreds of new bands after discovering The Shackeltons, but no band has compared to the frenetic energy, passion, and uniqueness these five boys from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania bring. 

Needless to say, I am never surprised, but always pleased, when someone else discovers The Shackeltons and falls just as fast for them. And that’s what happened at this year’s SXSW festival, where amidst thousands of bands, The Shackeltons managed to stand out of the hoardes to the fine folks over at NPR and All Songs Considered. Considering what a sweaty, exhausted, intoxicated musical orgy SXSW is, it is quite a feat for a band to be remembered, but it’s no surprise that The Shackeltons were. Thanks to their memorable performance (which we curse for missing) The Shackeltons and their song “Your Movement” is currently being featured on All Song’s Considered: SXSW ’09 Wrap Up.

A big congratulations to The Shackeltons for getting some NPR love and standing above the SXSW crowd.

March 19, 2009

The Decemberists Debut New “Folk Opera” Live at SXSW



Did you miss the live broadcast of the Decemberists performing The Hazards of Love last night on KEXP? Whether you did or you just want to listen to it again, you can stream it at and I highly suggest you do. It’s clearly a hot stream today considering I wasn’t even able to pull up NPR’s page earlier today. Featuring the full cast of characters in Lavender Diamond’ Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden, I think it manages to be as epic as the band had hoped. Also take a moment to swoon over the openers Avett Brothers set.

The Hazards of Love will be released in stores, next Tuesday March 24, but you can find it on the iTunes Store as I write.

March 17, 2009

Thermals Preview another new track on NPR’s Song of the Day, having multiple local CD Release shows following a busy SXSW



The title track from the Thermals soon to be released 4th LP Now We Can See has been freely available for a while now, along with a couple of others floating around, but today’s NPR Song of the Day is a new one to me. It’s titled “When We Were Alive,” and doesn’t stray too far from the classic Thermals formula or the cultural introspection that proved so successful on the previous album with the opening lyrics “we closed our minds, we shut our traps, we built a house, the house collapsed.” Now We Can See arrives April 7, but for now, stream that song of the day above, and take home the MP3 below.

MP3: “Now We Can See” by the Thermals from Now We Can See out April 7, 2009 on Kill Rock Stars

After representing Portland and Kill Rock Stars down at SXSW playing no less than eight parties in Austin, the band will come back to the Northwest, to play a CD release show first in their hometown of Portland at the Wonder Ballroom on April 9, and then in Seattle at Neumos on April 11. Then it’s off on a 6 week tour of the lower 48. One thing seems a little special about the tour though, in that it seems they’ve gone to pains to make sure most of the shows around the country are all-ages or 18+.

March 17, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Going for Broke at SXSW


This video is for “Everything With You,” the lead single from NY, NY’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s debut self-titled full-length, which came out on Slumberland Records last month. They’ve correctly characterize themselves as “hyper-melodic”, and in our book that’s not a bad thing at all, because it’s all about the voices. In fact we happen to think their new record is catchy as all get out. A devilish fusion of the Smiths’ commitment to creating captivating vocal melodies and Belle and Sebastian’s knack for catchy upbeat pop, The Pains new record comes along at just the right time, filling the niche of music that can accompany me during the transition into the sunny summer months.

MP3: “Everything with You” by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart courtesy of Slumberland Records

MP3: “Come Saturday” by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart courtesy of Slumberland Records

The Pains don’t have any dates yet scheduled for Seattle (the do for just about everywhere else in the world though), but Eric Grandy over at the Stranger promises us a summer date in Seattle will appear soon, so not to worry. Capitol Hill Block Party 2009 maybe? They are playing the Pitchfork Fest in Chicago Mid-July, among other festivals so something like that doesn’t seem entirely out of the question. And the Stranger is heavily involved in the Block Party each year usually…

Most immediately, this week The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are playing a bevy of dates at SXSW, all of which you can find below the fold. When I say bevy I mean ten, including four in one day, many of which some might consider the “cooler” parties, with two separate visits to Emo’s Jr in the same day. Impressive.


March 17, 2009

Ear Candy is Reborn, having a (re-)Birthday Show



For some the now certain demise of the P-I has been a forgone conclusion for some time and local freelance rock columnist Travis Hay having seen the writing on the wall has just relaunched his music column on his very own blog at In his final P-I column published yesterday Travis talks about this week’s re-opening of the Crocodile, and how it’s a bit different on the inside than it used to be. A second floor even!

This Saturday Ear Candy is having a bloggy birthday show at the High Dive on Saturday and the lineup is a doosie, with Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, WE Wrote the Book on Connectors, Team Gina and The Fucking Eagles all taking the stage. For the occasion, Travis utilized the WE Wrote the Book on Connectors Songwriting Service (only $18 for a custom song) to write a theme song for his blog. The results are not bad.

As I told Travis in an interview a short while ago, I’m glad that he’s another active and enthusiastic voice out there supporting the local northwest music scene. There’s certainly room for more of those people. That he’s continuing his blog in it’s own space is a good thing.

March 16, 2009

Northwest Label Showcases at SXSW



SXSW (the music part) starts later this week in Austin and local labels will be well represented at this year’s fest. We’ve gathered the various official local label showcases for you to peruse into one post right here, with posters and all.

The first label showcase is represented by the above poster for Sub Pop Records. Happening Thursday March 19 at the Radio Room in Austin, Sub Pop will have an outside and an inside stage going featuring twelve bands in all. I’m feeling like the Sub Pop band to watch this year is the Obits (though the Vetiver album is damn good), so it’s nice to see them on the bill and playing a bunch of official showcases at SXSW. The complete schedule for that show is below:

Sub Pop SXSW 2009 Showcase (2 stages) The Radio Room March 19, 2009

8:00 No Age (outside)
8:30 The Baptist Generals (inside)
9:00 Red Red Meat (outside)
9:30 Mark Sultan (inside)
10:00 Obits (outside)
10:30 Daniel Martin Moore (inside)
11:00 Vetiver (outside)
11:30 Tiny Vipers (inside)
12:00 Blitzen Trapper (outside)
12:30 Pretty & Nice (inside)
1:00 Handsome Furs (outside)

Head over to Reverb to get a complete listing of all of Sub Pop’s band appearances in Austin over the week.

Next up is Barsuk Records, who this year is sharing a showcase with Merge Records, a label who this year is attempting to break Seattle band Telekinesis. This line-up is a dream and will be worth the packed Parish.

Merge/Barsuk Showcase Saturday, March 21 The Parish

Telekinesis – 8pm The Wooden Birds – 9pm Lou Barlow – 10pm Say Hi – 11pm The Rosebuds – 12pm Ra Ra Riot – 1am

This year Olympia’s K Records shares a Showcase with Sufjan’s Athsmatic Kitty Records and Tomlab on Two Stages.

The Asthmatic Kitty, K Records, & Tomlab SXSW 2009 All-Star Revue (2 stages) Wednesday, March 18, 2009 (Starts at 8pm) Beauty Bar (617 E. 7th St.), Austin, TX

(INDOOR) 8 – Jookabox 9 – LAKE 10 – Fol Chen 11- Rafter 12 – DM Stith 1 – Jeremy Jay

(OUTDOOR) 8:15 – What’s Up? 9:15 – NO KIDS 10:15 – Desolation Wilderness 11:15 – Tara Jane O’Neil 12:15 – Parenthetical Girls 1:15 – Casiotone for the Painfully Alone


This year Sarathan Records has an afternoon showcase right on 6th Street. Yeah!

SARATHAN’S 2008 SXSW PARTY! Thu, Mar 13th Noon-5pm Friends Bar (208 East 6th Street, Austin TX) FREE SHOW • 21+ RSVP @

12:00 Abra Moore 12:45 Peter Bradley Adams 1:30 Jason & Rachel Trachtenburg 2:15 Two Loons for Tea 3:00 The Ettes 3:45 Feral Children 4:30 War Tapes

I’m an Idiot that was last year. Sorry.

Local label Loveless Records will be representing strongly in the form of the New Faces who are playing a couple of shows in Austin most notably SXSeattle, a free (RSVP HERE) Seattle-band centered showcase at the Palm Door. Here’ the complete lineup happening Saturday afternoon:

SXSeattle Saturday March 21 The Palm Door in Austin

Blue Scholars and Common Market – 5:15 Past Lives (Former members of The Blood Brothers and Shoplifting) – 4:30 Barcelona – 3:45 Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head – 3:00 New Faces – 2:15 Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band – 1:30 Dynah – 12:45 Hey Marseilles – 12:00 Noon

Finally we have Kill Rock Stars, who are sharing a bill with Bitch Magazine this year at local hot spot Club Deville for a free day party on Wednesday. This is a positively rad bill and where I would be if I were in Austin come Wednesday.

Bitch Magazine/Kill Rock Stars SXSW Day Party (This is a FREE event, no RSVP needed) Wednesday March 18 Noon Club de Ville, Red River Featuring (no times are noted yet):

The Thermals Marnie Stern Thao with the Get Down Stay Down Horse Feathers The Shaky Hands Paper Chase


Portland label HUSH Records isn’t having a showcase this year, but will be having a number of its artists playing in Austin. They’ve provided a handy schedule of all of those appearances on their blog!

For all of you headed to Austin here’s a word of advice that I offered earlier this week to another band heading down there: “Ease into it and stay hydrated. There will be just as much free beer on the last day as there is on the first. Trust me.”

March 16, 2009

Starfucker’s ride to Jupiter available in May, Band is in Austin this week



We’re light on the details on this so far, but PDX buzz-band and now-four piece Starfucker, who will be in Austin this week for SXSW, quietly added the above image to their myspace, changed their tagline to “jupiter out may 5th” and added a new song to their profile called “Medicine.” Needless to say we’re happy to hear this news and are super-excited about their return to Seattle next month to the Vera Project with Kuroma.

These gent’s are really looking to be active at SXSW, so check out their myspace and take in a show if you’re in the area.

Update: After some investigation, this is what their record label Badman Recordings who’ll be distributing the long EP has to say…

Less than a year after their successful debut album, this Portland, Oregon quartet returns with eight infectious songs- pasted side by side to deliver a non-stop indie house party. The experience of seeing Starfucker’s live performance delivers a reminder of what it is like to be a teenager: inspired, curious, open, hungry for anything new, and smiling uncontrollably. And this new 26 minute mini-album showcases the dance-y upbeat tunes that they are loved for from their sold out live performances. Included on the album is a cover version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – which recently made it to internet aggregator Elbows’ Top 2 of blog downloads. The 180 gm LP will include bonus material not found on the CD. Available in April through this site and in stores in May.

March 13, 2009

Cheer for Fate


Last week we told you they had An album, an ice cream, a nationwide tour in the plans for this week, and now a self made super cute Hi8 video hit the net too. Lucky. MSHVB are on tour now and will be playing the SXSeattle party in Austin for SXSW. You should go if you’re in that area.

MP3: “Cheer For Fate” by Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band from their self-titled LP out courtesy of Dead Oceans

You can also watch the band play this song acoustic as a part of a recently posted episode of the One Shot at the Crocodile series. Only seven more days people.

HT: Seattle Subsonic

March 13, 2009

Auerbach is God


dan auerbach

Dan Auerbach ::: Photos by Josh

“Auerbach is God.” Were I one of the lucky under-agers to witness Dan Auerbach’s performance at the Showbox on Tuesday, this is what I would be rabidly scrawling in my notebooks and on school bathroom stalls the following day. It’s not 1966 anymore, and while Clapton is certainly still around, these days few other blues guitarists can claim to capture the popular adoration from both modern rock and blues guitar players as the Black Keys guitarist can. And after Tuesday, “adoration” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel in my bones about one of my favorite modern musicians. Since we aren’t lucky enough to have a subway walls here in Seattle on which to declare the truth (bus tunnels don’t count), and since I’m twenty-eight and this is 2009, I think I’ll just limit my graffiti to the good ol’ World Wide Web and this here blog. I’ve done it already but I’m going to do again and take my statements even further. Let me be not the first and hopefully not be the last to say: Auerbach is God.

Lucky enough to spy Jordan of Magic Mirrors holding down front row when it wasn’t too crowded, I snuck in next to him and got a good spot for pictures during opening act Those Darlins and a good conversation between sets. A peppy mix of shit kickin’ punk, this trio maybe wasn’t respected enough by the heavily male audience who unfortunately talked over the entire set. Also opening was Hacienda, a band who’s latest record was produced by Auerbach, and who for this tour were picked as the band to serve as Auerbach’s backing band. I pretty much loved their rippin’ blues rock and was drooling over that vintage gold Les Paul that the guitarist was representing. Had I been drinking I think I would have really loved it and really rocked out. Instead I took mental notes on guitar technique and barely took any pictures anyway.

It was easy to see how they fit the mold as a multi-faceted backup band for Auerbach. To extend my earlier metaphor, they with the addition of percussionist Patrick Hallahan, who’s other job is principal on the skins for My Morning Jacket, make up Auerbach’s all-star blues band, a modern incarnation of the Bluesbreakers if you will, and as the night went on I would find them easily living up the potential of their frontman.

I had many questions going into Auerbach’s set. How many different guitars would he use? Only Two. Both hollow-body’s. Would they all be older than me? Both appeared to be. Really though the mouth-watering part of the night, was being center stage, directly in the path of Auerbach’s double amp setup, able to reach a true understanding of his fidelity. I know that sounds kinda dorky, but for me the blues played well really conveys truth in music, and the blues played live more so. And I can honestly attest that I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed heavy blues-rock played live better than Dan Auerbach in his last two visits to Seattle in the span of a year, six months past owning Memorial Stadium at Bumbershoot with the Black Keys, and this time around on his own. Save a frail John Lee Hooker who could barely wield a guitar at the time I saw him, I don’t know if I’ve ever personally seen or experienced a blues-man with the same command of the medium of the Blues in general as Dan Auerbach. He’s developed an identifiable musical perspective as surely as B.B. King or Clapton has, both living legends whom I’ve yet to be lucky enough to see live.

Just about every song from Auerbach’s new record Keep It Hid (still streaming at myspace!) made an appearance, with my favorites being of course “Street Walkin’” and “I Want Some More,” headbangers that when delivered around midnight had the properties of still really getting the house going again instead of deteriorating into a lull. Without question a fair number of hardcore Black Keys fans were populating the crowd (with a douche or two pushing their way into the front for dickhead displays of fandom only to sense how unwelcome they were and leave three songs in), but nobody seemed disappointed with the change of scenery for their beloved guitarist, because really he wasn’t leaving his blues rock roots at all, he was simply expanding his repertoire to include sounds he personally loves, in psychedelica and soul. In truth for me, the quieter numbers “Whispered Words” and “When the Night Comes,” both of which feature primarily Auerbach’s voice prominently, were just as revelatory as his guitar skills.

Dan Auerbach will be in San Fransisco tonight (Friday), LA tomorrow night, and in Austin at the Parish for SXSW before heading off to Europe. If you have a chance to see Auerbach’s solo material live, I implore you not to miss that opportunity.

dan auerbach

Dan Auerbach



those darlins

Those Darlins

Flickr: Dan Auerbach, Hacienda and Those Darlins at the Showbox at the Market March 10, 2009

March 12, 2009

The Rural Alberta Advantage


The Rural Alberta Advantage ::: Photo by Patrick Leduc

Late last year Canada’s The Rural Alberta Advantage released a record called Hometowns that received some notice but not by us. After getting a good listen to Hometowns, we’re officially now happy to be on the RAA bandwagon and smacking ourselves for not saying something sooner. Coincidentally at SXSW in Austin next week the band will be playing that aforementioned same evening official showcase as the Local Natives, Grizzly Bear, and Elvis Perkins at the Central Presbyterian Church, in addition to the heavyweight-blogger-curated Hot Freaks Day Party.

MP3: Frank, AB by the Rural Alberta Advantage from Hometowns courtesy of the RAA

MP3: “Don’t Haunt This Place” by the Rural Alberta Advantage from Hometowns courtesy of the RAA

I can’t recommend enough giving the above songs a listen. I suspect we’ll be hearing much more about this band in the coming months. They’ve got no Seattle dates yet, but we’ll let you know if any pop up.