Posts Tagged ‘Olympia’

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.


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.


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.


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.)


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



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.


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.”