Posts Tagged ‘Olympia’

Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out

Hailing from Olympia, Washington, Sleater-Kinney are pioneers in the riot grrrl movement. At its core, “Dig Me Out” is an album leading listeners through vigorous emotional strains — and the tension implodes on nearly every track. The record was released just barely a year after the bomb-hitting Call the Doctor, but the trio somehow managed to upstage themselves with “Dig Me Out”. This is the record where they first teamed up with Janet Weiss, and the change only did amazing things for them.

This album shows a sense of confidence. Sleater-Kinney were still an underground band when this record came out; Call the Doctor was a critical hit, but still wasn’t smashing numbers, and the band had shifted from a tiny indie label to a less tiny indie label. Dig Me Out is an album that will always push first into people’s minds when they think of the band, because it’s the record where everything first clicked for them — the record that marked their territory as a defining rock band in American history. 

“Dig Me Out” was the third studio album by the American rock band Sleater-Kinney, released on April 8, 1997, by Kill Rock Stars. The album was produced by John Goodmanson and recorded from December 1996 to January 1997 at John and Stu’s Place in Seattle, Washington. Dig Me Out marked the debut of Janet Weiss, who would become the band’s longest-serving drummer. The music on the record was influenced by traditional rock and roll bands, while the lyrics deal with issues of heartbreak and survival.

The album cover is an homage to The Kinks’ 1965 album “The Kink Kontroversy”. Two singles were released in support of the album: “One More Hour” and “Little Babies”.

Call the Doctor confirmed the band’s reputation as one of the major musical acts from the Pacific Northwest, rebelling against gender roles, consumerism, and indie rock’s male-dominated hierarchy. After the release of Call the Doctor, drummer Janet Weiss of Quasi joined the band. Previously, the band had had a number of temporary drummers, including Misty Farrell, Lora Macfarlane, and Toni Gogin. Weiss would eventually become Sleater-Kinney’s longest serving drummer. For its third album, Sleater-Kinney worked again with producer John Goodmanson.

Both Tucker and Brownstein remarked that Weiss became an essential part of the band’s sound. According to Tucker, “Musically, she’s completed our band. She’s become the bottom end and the solidness that we’ve really wanted for our song writing”. In addition to playing drums, Weiss provides hand claps and tambourine in “Turn It On”. Dig Me Out also contains more guitar and vocal interplay by Tucker and Brownstein than Call the Doctor. As Brownstein explained, “If you were to separate our guitar parts I don’t necessarily think they would fully stand on their own. Our songs aren’t really complete until the other person has put their part over it, and their vocals”. The lyrical themes on Dig Me Out deal with issues of heartbreak and survival.

The band left Chainsaw Records and decided to release the album through Kill Rock Stars, another independent record label which singer and guitarist Corin Tucker thought had better resources to ensure the band’s distribution. Goodmanson also remarked that Kill Rock Stars afforded the band a generous amount of studio time for an independent label, stating that Call the Doctor only took four days to record while Dig Me Out was recorded over the period of eight days.

The song “One More Hour” is about the breakup of Tucker and Brownstein’s romantic relationship.

Dig Me Out also features songs that show frustration with sexism and gender stereotypes. “Little Babies” is a protest against the traditional maternity role, while the title song “Dig Me Out” exposes a woman in a dominant role. The album’s title was inspired by the fact that the band had to literally dig out the recording studio after a heavy snowstorm that took place in Winter 1996 in Seattle. Musically, the song “Words and Guitar” was said to “[leap] and [skit] with the just-released repression of early Talking Heads”, while “Dance Song ’97” was said to “sport Devo-esque keyboards of a distinctly ’80s vintage”

Sleater-Kinney:
  • Carrie Brownstein – guitar, vocals
  • Corin Tucker – vocals, guitar
  • Janet Weiss – drums, percussion

This is the double vinyl version of the new song/album by the Microphones. Excellent and fancy manufacturing of all components. Comes with a big poster. Foil stamping. The usual exquisite quality.

Phil Elverum releases the first new music under his long-hibernating moniker, the Microphones, in 17 years. The new album is titled “Microphones in 2020″ and is out today via his own label, P.W. Elverum & Sun. This new album follows The Microphone’s previous record, 2003’s Mount Eerie. Elverum has toured and released music under the name Mount Eerie since 2003, but he briefly revived the Microphones moniker for a show at What the Heck Fest in his hometown of Anacortes, Washington last year. The album consists entirely of a 44-minute-long track. “We all crash through life prodded and diverted by our memories,” Elverum says. “There is a way through to disentanglement. Burn your old notebooks and jump through the smoke. Use the ashes to make a new thing.

The Microphones in 2020. Phil Elverum (who retired the moniker in 2003 and has gone by Mount Eerie ever since) brought back the name he used for such classic albums as The Glow Pt. 2 for the first time in 17 years, and the result is a one-song, 44-minute album where he muses on the very idea of being “The Microphones.” “There is too much focus on the title of a thing,” Phil told us in a new interview. “Ideally, we can just make stuff without a title for it and without an identity for it. Things can just rest on their own merit, but that’s too idealistic [laughs] and impossible.”

Released Aug. 7th, 2020
as a 2xLP by P.W. Elverum & Sun

Anyone who is a fan of the Uncle Meat period of Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention will get a kick out of this one. It explains, in a little over 50 minutes why Zappa was so influential among the fledgling Progressive Rock community. Frank really never made music to dance to, even though some could argue that parts of Freak Out and Cruisin’ With Ruben And The Jets were finger-poppers, and the first number on this tape is a jumping improv, he mostly appealed directly to an audience who liked their music brainy and challenging. He was responsible for freeing up much of Rock’s inherent restrictions, and in doing so forged a new direction during a period of time where musicians and listeners were looking for a bit more substance and meaning.

And even though it became a very public joke that none of Frank’s music would ever make it on Top-40 radio, he achieved worldwide recognition without it. Popular Music was exploding in directions that hadn’t happened before the 1960s. By 1968 the revolution was in full bloom.

And when you consider this concert from Paris, five months after the great French Strike of May and the monumental changes that occurred during that time, it’s only fitting and natural that Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention play to a sold out and enthusiastic audience at the Olympia.

Fortunately, this concert sounds great and completely belies its age (almost 50 years ago . . .seriously?). Further evidence that history doesn’t need to sound dim and distant in order to be profound. Unfortunately, it’s just the first half of the concert.

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The Mothers Of Invention: 
Frank Zappa—guitar and vocals
Don Preston—keyboards
Ian Underwood—keyboards and woodwinds
Bunk Gardner—woodwinds
Motorhead—baritone sax
Roy Estrada—bass and vocals
Jimmy Carl Black—drums and vocals
Art Tripp—drums and percussion

Recorded 26th October 1968, Olympia, Paris, France

We haven’t heard any music from Globelamp, the musical moniker of Elizabeth Le Fey, since her 2015 album The Orange Glow.  That album was an honest and impressive record, detailing Elizabeth’s abusive relationship and the complex fall out from it, involving court cases, restraining orders and a host of very public exchanges. This week marked the announcement of a third Globelamp record, “Romantic Cancer”, due for release on her new home Nefarious Industries, as well as the release of a new single, “Black Tar”.

While The Orange Glow bathed in technicolor psych-folk, Black Tar is instantly a more restrained affair. Elizabeth’s vocal is largely unadorned, left to all it’s idiosyncratic flair, accompanied by a just gentle acoustic guitar rhythm and an accordion, courtesy of James Felice, which adds a certain Parisian feel to proceedings.

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Discussing Romantic Cancer, Elizabeth has suggested it is a record about how we perceive relationships, how, “we start believing Love equals Pain. As though Love is a type of cancer that must be avoided at all costs”. As intriguing and challenging as ever, the return of Globelamp is an occasion to be celebrated.

All songs written by Elizabeth le Fey 

All guitars, keyboard, and tambourine played by Elizabeth le Fey
James Felice – Accordion on Blinded, Sorceress Of Your Soul, Black Tar, Look Out Mountain
Morgan Y. Evans – vocals on track Sha La Love, trombone on Look Out Mountain

Throw some guidelines for artistic conduct and appropriation into a small collective of musicians based in the same sleepy town (Olympia, Washington, in this case) and you can begin to see how inspiration takes root and how a scene is born. Chris McDonnell’s Trans FX project, over the course of three albums released in the past two years, has deftly moved from the recesses of goth to the kind of blasted grandeur found in David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy. The output of the duo CC Dust, fronted by vocalist Mary Jane Dunphe, covers similarly gilded terrain within the realms of ethereal pop and dashed electronic rhythms.

McDonnell and Dunphe could have shared a practice space wall for how close their sources of inspiration overlap.

CCFX slots in these ideas in a formal merger of the two projects, one which nestles Dunphe’s alluring vocals against the expanse of McDonnell’s deep dive into an adolescence dressed in shades of black. With bassist David Jaques anchoring, the pair’s debut self-titled EP speaks directly to the carefree swirl of dream-pop and soulful melody that informed parts of their separate endeavors (Dunphe was also the vocalist of raucous punk band Vexx, and currently shares a second project with McDonald, the country-rock band The County Liners).

“Venetian Screens” lunges forth with a boisterous drum loop, rolling bass against steady organ notes, and spindly guitar around Dunphe’s soothing alto, with the sort of retro-minded genre mash perfected by Saint Etienne. But in the trio’s hands, the track achieves a depth that reaches below the layers of nostalgia in their approach, no matter how sparsely applied its elements may seem.

Theirs is the sound of a late ’80s and early ’90s reckoning with technology, when samples and programmed beats were given a new, emotive context, from the Cocteau Twins to “Tom’s Diner,” amplifying their creators’ introspections under the banner of alternative rock. Songs like theirs are akin to opening an old yearbook and seeing all the faces replaced by newer, younger versions of yourself and all your classmates, a beguiling alternate reality where everyone looks as cool as they feel they are.

CCFX EP comes out October 20th via DFA Records.

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For those who were upset by G.L.O.S.S passing, there’s still a lot of music to look forward to. Who knows what its members will go on to produce, but rest assured Sadie Switchblade will be around for awhile, making country-leaning rock music that sounds-off to seminal American bands passed; Switchblade channels indie greats and even covers Lucinda Williams with grace and reverence. With her other project Dyke Drama’s Up Against The Bricks is a semi-sweet meditation on identity, love, and longing. It’s rarely incendiary, but never afraid to prove a point

Dyke Drama is the solo project of Sadie Switchblade (G.L.O.S.S., Peeple Watchin‘, etc.)

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This album was recorded one week in the spring of 2016, produced and engineered by Joey Seward in Shelton, WA. Recorded in Joey’s garage, on broken and borrowed gear…again…(but some of it less broken than last time).

Sadie Switchblade played guitars, drums, bass, tambourine, and sang. Erica Leshon sang vocal harmony. Joey Seward played organ and sang backing vocals. Chris Grande played additional guitar on “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad”.
All songs by Sadie Switchblade, except “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad” by Lucinda Williams.

 

Erica Freas is an Olympia, Washington-based musician, founder of Rumbletowne Records, She’s highly-regarded for her involvement punk bands RVIVR and Somnia as well as her acoustic solo projects. “I am in love with the way that a song feels different when it’s bare and stripped down and when it’s driving and loud. It can be more accessible and allow the beautiful parts of the lyrics or guitar melodies to stand out better. It’s exciting to play around with variation,” she said.

Though the sounds may vary, even when she is writing an intimate ballad, Freas’ punk roots are never totally out of the picture. “I’m playing to a drummer that’s not there and often writing that percussion into the guitar parts. Punk rock taught me how to sing loud with confidence and loads of my solo songs are down-picking the whole time. I’m a rocker even when I’m fingerpicking a lullaby, it’s just in there.”

Freas released her latest solo album on Don Giovanni Records, titled “Patient Ones”.  A prolific songwriter, the album’s songs are a from collection of material she’s been steadily building on since her 2012 album Belly, and an EP titled “Tether” she released the following year. “I’ve got these songs coming through, and every now and then the basin gets full and there’s enough material to make a collection,” she said.

Production on the record is minimal, but with Freas’ smooth voice and the luscious, warm tones of her Martin 0015M (which she sometimes runs through a Fender Deville 4×10 combo), you wouldn’t want it any other way. Cellist Jen Grady provides accompaniment on some tracks otherwise Freas is completely on her own.

 

Voice & Guitar : Erica Freas
Cello : Jen Grady
Choral Arrangement : Lindsay Scheif
The Patient Ones Choir : Colin Ashante, Don Freas, Ethan Camp, Jack Gray, Jemmy Joe, Julian Gomes, Matt Buscher, M Sather, Paris McClusky, River Nason, Sam Kates-Goldman

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G.L.O.S.S.

When an “alternative” genre gets storied and historied to the extent that hardcore punk has, it starts to get difficult to weed through imitators or impressionists to find the real thing. But G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) are the real deal. In less than nine minutes, their demo rips through five lo-fi d-beat anthems seeping with palpable, contagious fury. This demo’s simple formula and rage-filled execution make it one of the most memorable and relevant punk records of the year, with a focus on capturing the energy and ambiance of the group’s live set (which, I assure you, is quite fucking fantastic). And all this rowdy fun goes to serve a much higher purpose—taking down the patriarchy one jabbing lyric at a time.

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The introductory demo by Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit might be the finest hardcore record to come out this year, and the leadoff track makes vocalist and transwoman Sadie Switchblade’s intentions pretty clear: “Now they tell us we aren’t girls, our femininity doesn’t fit. We’re fucking future girls, living outside of society’s shit.”

COREY – DRUMS JULAYA – BASS SADIE – VOCALS TANNRR – GUITAR JAKE – GUITAR