A short drive north of Everett, among unmowed fields and farmland, nestled by the Stillaguamish River, lies Slime Dog Raceway. The river has a current, but in the hot summer sun is a true escape. The dirt track circle feels small for cars to be racing around at any speed as you walk inside of it. You wonder whether the weathered house right up along side one edge of the track has ever sustained any direct hits. With a the flatbed of a semi-truck serving as a stage situated on turn four, this is the setting for Don Slack’s local rock & roll campout, Slack Fest.
In years past Slack Fest was Don’s chance to gather a few of his favorite bands and lots of friends for a no-rules, no-strings-attached, invite-only shindig. Though Doe Bay Fest temporarily took the place of Slack Fest the last few years, this year the team who brought you Doe Bay has taken on reviving Slack Fest as a showcase for local rock, Don’s way.
For his day of fun, happening this year on July 9th, Don has already collected a bevy of the Northwest’s finest guitar slingers. In My Goodness he taps Seattle’s latest head-banging head-turner, and in American Girls (formerly Petty Party) he recruits the party band of 2011. With more bands to be announced and every band on this bill already Sound on the Sound approved, as far as we’re concerned this is a weekend to black out on the calendar already.
Slack Fest 2011
July 9th, 2011 at the Slime Dog Raceway
The Golden Blondes
“The Ornament”, the first single off the debut album due out August 16th on Hardly Art, is all sunny symphonic backing with Olsen’s ragged smooth voice front and center joined by the layered harmonies of label-mates The Moondoggies. There’s an easy wiseness to Olsen’s voice, lyrics and the album’s orchestration. With ’60s psychedelic soul flourishes, these songs sound both charmingly retro and incredibly of the moment. Were I to compare it to anyone, I’d say Gold Leaves sound like Fleet Foxes recording Helplessness Blues on a budget, which is by no means a slight. The songs are more restrained, but still full and wild, with more hazy doo-wop than hymnal harmonies. It is an intoxicating mix and a perfect soundtrack for the golden hours of summer.
I still can’t believe Sasquatch is upon us this Friday, mostly because thanks to local weather patterns, I still can’t believe it’s May. But whatever the weather has led me to believe, the 10th annual Sasquatch! Music Festival (and the traditional start of local music fans’ summer) does in fact start this Friday and this is my personal schedule day-by-day. Josh and Phil will be sharing their Sasquatch schedules this week, as well as our unmissable sets of the Fest.
12:00: Seattle Rock Orchestra (Bigfoot)
1:15: The Globes (Yeti)
2:15: The Head and The Heart (Mainstage)
2:30: Tig Notaro (Banana Shack)
3:15: Local Natives (Mainstage)
3:30: Dan Mangan (Yeti)
4:00: Sharon Van Etten (Bigfoot)
4:30: J. Mascis (Yeti)
5:30: Wye Oak (Yeti)
7:45: The Thermals (Yeti)
8:15: Bright Eyes (Mainstage)
9:00: Robyn (Bigfoot)
9:45: Death Cab for Cutie (Mainstage)
11:30 – Wavves (Mainstage)
12:30 – Jaill (Yeti)
1:30 – Young Evils (Yeti)
2:00 – Noah and the Whale (Bigfoot)
2:15 – Head Like A Kite (Yeti)
3:30 – Black Mountain (Bigfoot)
3:45 – The Scott Aukerman & Paul F. Tompkins Show (Banana Shack)
4:10 – Stornoway (Bigfoot)
5:15 – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Bigfoot)
6:45 – Best Coast (Yeti)
8:00 – Decemberists (Mainstage)
9:00 – Deerhunter (Bigfoot)
9:30 – Wilco (Mainstage)
Some of our very favorite local song-writers are coming together for a special night next Tuesday at The Round (72) featuring Kevin Murphy (of the Moondoggies), Kaylee Cole and Mychal Cohen (of Campfire OK). While Murphy and Cohen are usually flanked by bands, some of our favorite performances of both have come when they have stripped down and performed solo. Without the jangle of the Rhodes or the backing choir of Campfire OK, there is no distraction from the stark delicacy of their stories. And as many of you well know, Cole’s sad songs are a force to be reckoned with, whether performed solo or with a backing orchestra. There have been promises of heart-wrenching covers and duets between Cole and Murphy, but with the spirit of creation and collaboration that is at the heart of The Round, the best that’s to come on Tuesday will not have been practiced.
The truth is, we all have day jobs (or are unemployed) and few things sound better on a sunny summer day than escaping the office (or the pile of job applications) for the great outdoors and some good tunes. If you happen to work (or are attempting to get a job) near downtown this summer, you’re in luck. The perpetually uncool sounding “Out to Lunch” free concert series was just announced and some great local bands will be singing for the downtown lunch crowd this summer including: The Moondoggies, Hey Marseilles, Wheedle’s Groove, The Maldives and Star Anna.
Here’s the schedule, now to work on that whole “summer” thing actually happening.
June 15: The Moondoggies – Westlake Park
June 17: Hey Marseilles – Harbor Steps
June 22: Chokolate – Occidental Square
June 24: The Maldives – Harbor Steps
June 29: Kris Orlowski – Bank of America Plaza
July 1: The Paperboys – Harbor Steps
July 8: Rodney Crowell – Harbor Steps
July 13: Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs – Waterfront Park
July 15: Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks – Occidental Square
July 20: Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three – Federal Courthouse
July 22: The Damnwells – Waterfront Park
July 27: Ian McFearon – Bank of America Plaza
July 29: Po’ Girl – Occidental Square
August 3: Jovino Santos Neto – Federal Courthouse
August 5: Wheedle’s Groove – Westlake Park
August 10: Pearl Django w/ Greta Matassa – Two Union Square
August 12: The Dusty 45s – Harbor Steps
August 17: Vicci Martinez – Two Union Square
August 19: The Harters – Harbor Steps
August 24: Portland Cello Project – Two Union Square
August 26: Clinton Fearon & Boogie Brown Band – Harbor Steps
August 31: Orchestra Zarabanda – Bank of America Plaza
September 2: LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends – Harbor Steps
Wanted to share two last videos from the “Pacific Northwest Invasion” House Show in Colorado Springs we attended a couple weeks ago. Despite the chatty crowd, The Moondoggies’ acoustic “Empress of The North” is achingly lovely and the now firmly titled “Josh McBride” (formerly called “The Seat Beside Me”) by The Head and The Heart, gives a taste of what could be the best of the band’s sophomore release circa 2013.
Well, beyond yesterday’s Dreamhost disaster, things have been a little quiet here on Sound on the Sound. Why might you ask? No, we’re not getting ready to party it up with every other music blog in the country in Austin. Instead, Josh and I flew out to Colorado last week to catch the fondly termed “Northwest Invasion” — two nights of tiny concerts with some of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest bands: The Head and The Heart, The Moondoggies, Kelli Schaefer and Ravenna Woods.
We’ll be posting more on Friday night’s sold-out show at a Denver-area bowling alley, as well as some videos from Saturday’s I Am Fuel, You Are Friends living room show in Colorado Springs, but today we just wanted to share a few photos from a night we’ll never forget. The Head and The Heart, The Moondoggies, Kelli Schaefer and Ravenna Woods — a line-up that could easily sell out The Paramount here at home — in a Coloardo Springs living room with about 40 other folks. Absolutely, 100% worth flying to Colorado (or just about anywhere else in the world) for.
Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend or acquaintance whose recommendations you can always count on. A friend whose record collection you covet, who knows the obscure songs that sound like classics, and who you can’t wait to press play when a new mp3 arrives attached to an email or a mix-tape comes in the mail. While nearly every day here on Sound on the Sound, Noah, curator of the Daily Choice, serves that role in my life (and hopefully for you too), I’m lucky to have a few other acquaintances with nearly flawless recommendation records and Kevin Murphy from The Moondoggies is one of them.
Nearly every time Murphy has passed something my way it inevitably gets played on repeat and purchased, the latest being “White Knuckle” by Reilly Partridge of The Further Adjustments. The Minneapolis based band opened for The Moondoggies on their recent tour and Patridge made such an impression on Murphy, that he covered his song “White Knuckle” at the benefit show for Drew Grow at Columbia City Theater and was kind enough to pass along the original. (Available for download at the end of the post)
Partridge’s “White Knuckle” calls out North Dakota and West Virginia by name, but aches with the anxiety of not knowing your place in the world. “You don’t know how hard it is to be young,” Partridge wails in a gravelly tone that does little to belie his youth. “White Knuckle” might center on a young man’s refrain, but it’s a song with an old soul. I would’ve just have easily believed Murphy had he told me it was an old country song he was covering that night, rather than a song from an up-and-comer. Partridge sings of “broke hearted people going all the way down” like he’s wallowed in the gloomiest depths and of “long nights and short bright days” like a road-weary traveler. And if he’s ever inclined to take that long dark highway on his own to Seattle, songs like “White Knuckle” would surely seem right at home.