Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Seattle trio Dude York have returned with the new full-length Falling, their tribute to adolescent romance and the pop-punk that clogged up FM radio wavelengths of yesteryear. To celebrate the announcement, the band has shared a new animated music video for the album’s impossibly catchy title track. Falling will be out Friday, July 26th on LP, CD, Digital, and Cassette . First-run LP copies come on frosting-colored vinyl.

“There are two ways things can fall” says Dude York’s Claire England. “They can fall and be ruined, or they can fall gently like a feather and be fine”. On Falling, their second full-length for Hardly Art, the Seattle trio explores that sentiment

“Falling” is from Dude York’s 2019 album of the same name.

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The Berries will release their new album Berryland on September 26th, via Run For Cover Records. The announcement comes with a new video for their lead single “Fruit.” Led by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Matt Berry, Director Will Anderson taps into the feeling of Berryland with his video for “Fruit,” capturing the band’s mix of vintage style alongside the modern idiosyncrasies of the songwriter.

Matt Berry, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and overall mastermind of The Berries, first began to turn heads with his work in louder bands in the west coast underground music scene (Big Bite, Happy Diving), but his true love has always been unfiltered melody. “I’ve always been attracted to pop sensibilities and I was interested in making music that leaned more towards that instead of volume and distortion,” he explains. After a handful of demos, The Berries’ released their 2018 debut LP Start All Over Again, which documented a miserable Seattle winter and Berry’s impressive ability to organically wear his influences on his sleeve. As he began working on a follow up, he found himself becoming more and more at ease in forging those inspirations within his own unique sonic identity.

That assured sense of identity is unmistakable on Berryland. After tracking drums with Trevor Spencer at his studio outside Seattle, Way Out, Berry began the in-depth process of recording nearly every other instrument on the album in his own home. “Every day I wake up and if I’m not working, I’m in my cave for eight hours makng music, so I was very used to spending days just working on a song,” he recalls. The extra time spent tinkering and experimenting can be heard in Berryland’s vast array of guitar tones, psychedelic flourishes, and layered vocal harmonies. Traces of Berry’s punk roots remain in the occasional noisy guitar squall, which meets the jangle and twang with surprising cohesion. Driving all the guitars is Berryland’s secret weapon: its attention to rhythm. The sense of groove and occasional electronic percussion are subtle but key elements of the album’s pulse, often inspired by Berry’s love of the 1990s intersection of rock and danceable beats.

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releases September 20th, 2019

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Seattle based band Chastity Belt have announced a new self-titled album and shared its first single, “Ann’s Jam,” via a video for the track. Chastity Belt is due out September 20th via Hardly Art.

The album is the follow-up to 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. The band consists of Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar, drums), Lydia Lund (vocals, guitar), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals, guitar), and Annie Truscott (bass). Chastity Belt is their fourth album and it was co-produced by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. The band took a several months hiatus in 2018 and then reconvened to work on the album.

“So much of the break was reminding ourselves to stay present, and giving ourselves permission to stop without saying when were gonna meet up again,” says guitarist Lydia Lund in a press release. “It was so important to have that-not saying, ‘we’re gonna get back together at this point,’ but really just open it up so we could get back to our present connection.”

“Ann’s Jam” is the lead single from Chastity Belt’s 2019 self-titled album.

When Julia Shapiro flew home from a cancelled Chastity Belt tour in April 2018, everything in her life felt out of control. Dealing with health issues, freshly out of a relationship, and in the middle of an existential crisis, she realized halfway through a tour supporting her band’s third album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone that she was going through too much to continue. “I was really struggling; I was really depressed. I felt like I couldn’t sing or be a person,” Shapiro recalls. “At that point I couldn’t even imagine playing a show again, I was so over it.”

Returning home to a newly empty Seattle one-bedroom apartment, Shapiro had wanted for a long time to learn how to record and mix her own music, and out of the uncertainty of the future of her music career and her health, she began to record the songs that would become Perfect Version, her solo debut for Hardly Art. What she created in the space of ten songs is an intimate and beautifully self-aware examination of feeling lost in the life you’ve created for yourself. It’s an album of shimmering guitars and layered vocals that feels vast in the emotional depth it conveys and masterful in the way each song is intentionally crafted and recorded.

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Throughout the record Shapiro tries on different ways of living, all thematically centered around the idea of what it would be like to be a perfect version of yourself. “How can someone be so blindly confident/I wanna know that trick,” she wonders on “Natural,” the opening track that begins using another person as a mirror and then pans back to a bigger picture: what would it take to really love yourself? The album is peppered with ideas of what self-improvement could look like—whether it’s learning a skill and living out in the woods, going to bed at a reasonable hour, or even more playful, deeply relatable lines like “I should really delete my Instagram.”

Shapiro has a knack for turning simple images into something profound, drawing influence from songwriters like Elliott Smith to capture complicated moods. The everyday act of circling the block trying to find a parking spot becomes a metaphor for trying and feeling like you can’t quite get anything done. “All my problems feel like paper/I can finally rip them up,” she sings on the title track, describing a moment of lightness in hanging out with friends who can find humor in your failure “at least I have my friends to laugh at what I’ve done.”

Over the course of a tumultuous year of trying to find stability amidst depression and surgery, Shapiro ultimately rediscovered the parts of music that she loved through the process. Her perfectionist qualities create an album that shines in tiny lyrical moments and meticulous guitar parts. “When the rest of my life felt out of control, I felt like this was my chance to be in control of everything,” says Shapiro. She plays all the instruments (save for a mouth trumpet solo by Darren Hanlon and guest violin by Annie Truscott) and after recording and mixing the first batch of four songs at the Vault studio with Ian LeSage decided to record the final six tracks alone in her apartment, adding drums in the studio later and learning to mix them with the help of her friend David Hrivnak.

Perfect Version is a fully realized vision from a gifted songwriter finding a more intimate voice. “So what comes next?” she questions on the album closer “Empty Cup” which explores the quiet satisfaction of being alone with yourself and creating a blank slate. “A lasting sense of self,” she concludes.

Exclusive: Julia Shapiro Shares Surreal New Song and Video, "Shape"

Taken from Julia Shapiro’s forthcoming solo debut “Perfect Version” (due out June 14th via Hardly Art Records),“Shape” is an illusory song, keeping its muddied bass and guitars just out of grasp. Shapiro’s vocals are similarly like a mirage, a siren beckoning you on your endless journey, as she sings detached lyrics yearning for connection: “And in my dream / things were just as they seemed / we were on the phone / and your thoughts were my own.”

Swooning dreampop soundtracks a surreal travelogue through the Australian outback in this music video for “Shape,” the third single taken from Perfect Version, the solo debut of Julia Shapiro, singer/guitarist of Chastity Belt and Childbirth. Perfect Version is out Friday, June 14th.

Chastity Belt have been poised to make that entrance for nearly a decade now, but before they return with album number 4, frontwoman Julia Shapiro is taking a solo trip with her debut studio album. A year ago the musician returned home from a cancelled Chastity Belt tour, feeling like she “couldn’t even imagine playing a show again.” What emerged from that period of darkness is something clear, the sad but savvy summer sing-song of Perfect Vision. If Ms. Shapiro is the next Seattle singer to break it big, then the musical reputation of the Pacific Northwest is in very good hands, indeed.

At the conclusion of the majestic Maraqopa trilogy, and four consecutive records with Richard Swift behind the boards, Damien Jurado decided to take the reins himself on the subtly orchestral and gorgeously melancholy The Horizon Just Laughed. That Swift would pass on mere months after the album’s release made the whole situation feel even more significant. Jurado and Swift immersed themselves in a psychedelic, hallucinatory world on the Maraqopa trilogy, but the horizon indeed just laughs, and fate stretches its legs out to trip you up, as though the borderline of their fantasy world had been watching with a detached amusement all along, waiting for our protagonist to return to a more sobering reality. When Jurado does step through the door, he finds himself back in a misty morning of a weary world where Charles Schultz and Charlie Brown exchange letters detailing their mutual late life struggles. Characters populate the album from front to back, showcasing Jurado’s beautifully empathetic and inspired vision of a world and its inhabitants more reflective of ourselves, and, as revealed on the hauntingly prophetic album highlight “The Last Great Washington State,” one with love and appreciation for what and who we have, while we have them, and afterward still.

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released May 4th, 2018

Seattle band Tacocat will release “This Mess Is a Place”, their new full-length album on LP/CD/Digital and Cassette tomorrow, Friday, May 3rd. The album is their first for Sub Pop Records, and heralds a more pop-driven and ebullient direction in their sound. Critics are calling it “as effervescent as ever”and “the band’s most polished record to date” ( The Seattle Times). Checkout the band’s trippy music video for “New World”.

This Mess is a Place (release date: May 3rd, 2019)

Sometimes you do dumb stuff like send your email without testing it and it’s completely black. Bad day at work here in Cataldo HQ. Sending again because I want you to know I made my best record yet and it’s finally time to start sharing it! It’s called “Literally Main Street”. And it’s a new album from Cataldo coming to you soon. The record comes out in the fall and we’re touring all over the place but I couldn’t resist giving everyone a sneak peek before the summer hits. To that end we’re playing one show at the Sunset with a dream bill of: Kyle Morton of Typhoon, Whitney Ballen, and their bands.

A little behind the scenes making this next record at Tiny Telephone from our pal Rachel Demy.

Without getting into too much inside baseball this is a big show for us–I’d be honored if you joined us! We’ll be playing lots of tunes from Keepers and Gilded Oldies alongside some new jams from the forthcoming record. I’m unbelievably proud of these new songs

From the album “Keepers”

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Our favourite palindromic glitter punx from SeattleTacocat, give us our video of the day today. Enjoy a ‘Grains of Salt,’ from forthcoming LP This Mess Is A Place (available May 3rd on Sub Pop Records).

When Seattle band Tacocat—vocalist Emily Nokes, bassist Bree McKenna, guitarist Eric Randall, and drummer Lelah Maupin  first started in 2007, the world they were responding to was vastly different from the current Seattle scene of diverse voices they’ve helped foster. It was a world of house shows, booking DIY tours on MySpace, and writing funny, deliriously catchy feminist pop-punk songs when feminism was the quickest way to alienate yourself from the then-en vogue garage-rock bros. Their lyrical honesty, humor, and hit-making sensibilities have built the band a fiercely devoted fanbase over the years, one that has followed them from basements to dive bars to sold-out shows . Every step along the way has been a seamless progression—from silly songs about Tonya Harding and psychic cats to calling out catcallers and poking fun at entitled weekend-warrior tech jerks on their last two records on Hardly Art.

“This Mess is a Place”, Tacocat’s fourth full-length and first on Sub Pop, finds the band waking up the morning after the 2016 election and figuring out how to respond to a new reality where evil isn’t hiding under the surface at all—it’s front and center, with new tragedies and civil rights assaults filling up the scroll of the newsfeed every day. “What a time to be barely alive,” laments “Crystal Ball,” a gem that examines the more intimate side of responding emotionally to the news cycle. How do you keep fighting when all you want to do is stay in bed all day? “Stupid computer stupor/Oh my kingdom for some better ads,” Nokes sings, throwing in some classic Tacocat snark, “Truth spread so thin/It stops existing.”

Tacocat are doing what they’ve always done so well: mingling brightness, energy, and hope with political critique. This Mess is a Place is charged with a hopefulness that stands in stark contrast to music that celebrates apathy, despair, and numbness. Tacocat feels it all and cares, a lot, whether they’re singing odes to the magical connections we feel with our pets (“Little Friend”), imagining what a better earth might look like (“New World”), or trying to find humor in a wholly unfunny world (“The Joke of Life”).

Throughout the album, Tacocat questions power structures and the way we interact with them, recalling the feminist sci-fi of Ursula K. Le Guin in pop-music form. “Rose-Colored Sky” examines the privilege of people who have been able to skate through life without ever experiencing systemic disadvantage: “For all the years spent/Hot lava shaping me/For all the arguments/I wonder who else would I be?” Nokes sings. “If I wasn’t on the battleground/I bet I could’ve gone to space by now.” “Hologram” reminds us to step outside ourselves and try to see beyond imaginary structures that trap us: “Just close your eyes and think about the Milky Way/Just remember if you can, power is a hologram.”

“Grains of Salt” finds the band at the best they’ve ever sounded: Maupin’s spirited drums, McKenna’s bouncy walking bass, Randall’s catchy guitar and Nokes’ soaring melody combine to create a bonafide roller-rink hit that reminds us that it just takes some time, we’re in the middle of the ride, and to live for what matters to you. It’s a delightfully cathartic moment and the cornerstone of the record when they exclaim: “Don’t forget to remember who the fuck you are!”

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Like many important bands, Seattle quartet Versing got their start in college radio—Tacoma’s KUPS. The group’s main songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Daniel Salas served as alternative music director there, where he met guitarist Graham Baker, drummer Max Keyes, and bassist Kirby Lochner. Now Versing are poised to spread their coolly combustible brand of rock on those said airwaves…and beyond if the world knows what’s good for it.

Baker, Keyes, Lochner, and Salas have risen through Seattle’s competitive rock ecosphere with nonchalant élan. They cheekily titled a previous album Nirvana, but never mind the bleach: Versing isn’t emulating Sub Pop’s most famous artist. Rather, these four twenty-something aesthetes are forging an exciting sound that finds a golden mean between lustrous noise and ebullient melody.

Emerging from a stint as a drummer in a stoner-metal band, Salas formed Versing as a vehicle to vent obliquely about his political and social views with irony and humor. Populated with strange characters, his songs often double as “critiques of centrism and conservatism, from a leftist perspective. That’s a theme: committing to something or doing something that may be hard but is the better option. However, when I write politically, it’s more allegorical and can be interpreted beyond the political realm. I find that more interesting to write about than my personal life.”

That being said, the pell-mell, ostinato-laced “Renew,” which Salas says is his most hopeful song, has a personal message. “It’s about taking time to care for yourself—even when things are all weird and fucked up.” Meanwhile, the immersive, pummeling “Offering” evokes those twin pillars of 1988 rock: My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything and Pixies’ Surfer Rosa. “I just really enjoy that droning line of guitar feedback,” Salas says. “We use a lot of feedback on our songs, but I think that’s one of the more deliberately musical uses we’ve found for it. It’s sort of a fantastical song about traveling through a mystical portal to stop an encroaching force of evil, and the feedback is like the whirring sound the portal makes.”

Another fantastical song, “Tethered” is a low-key, Daydream Nation-esque anthem with plenty of dissonance and surging, distorted guitars, plus rhythms that drive piles. Salas explains that it’s “about how people are tied together,” figuratively. “It’s a reminder of the interconnectedness of humans, to people who make excuses for not doing the right thing” for the greater good of humanity.

With Versing, songwriting is obviously crucial, but much of the pleasure in 10000 comes from its guitar textures. They’re swarming, yet also spiky and agile. The funny thing is, Salas writes most of Versing’s songs on his unplugged Gibson guitar. “I like a more shambolic tone than something that sounds really clean and put together. I like there to be some screechiness to it—something that’s not right.”

Salas cites earlier purveyors of abstract rock music Cocteau Twins and Wire as major inspirations. Much of the rock that followed in the wake of 9/11, though, leaves him cold. “9/11 messed up a lot of things culturally, including music,” he says. “It engendered a deep social conservatism and nationalism that meant the chaotic and unpracticed sounds previously common in rock music had to go, in favor of tighter playing, more simplistic subject matter, and super clean production.”

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Gently chiding the Seattle music scene’s self-seriousness while acknowledging Versing’s playfulness and irony, Salas says, “There’s a ‘let’s just fuck around and see what comes out,’ aspect of what we do, which I think is uncommon for Seattle bands.”

Versing’s freewheeling attitude has paradoxically resulted in 10000, an engrossing album that’s impossible to feel ambivalent about.

releases May 3rd, 2019
Sat, Feb 16th – The Sunflower Lounge , Birmingham United Kingdom