Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

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Named one of the 10 best live albums of all time by Rolling Stone, Nirvana’s “Unplugged in New York” will be reissued on 2LP vinyl in celebration of the 25th anniversary of its 1994 release.Expanded to include 5 rehearsal performances previously only available on DVD, the anniversary release also features an exclusive gatefold jacket including anniversary silver foil detail on the front and back cover.180gm black vinyl.

The performance which became the most enduring image of indie rock’s founding idol. Featuring unique acoustic renditions of their legendary hits as well as the captivating cover of Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World. It features an acoustic performance taped at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 18th, 1993 for the television series MTV Unplugged. The show was directed by Beth McCarthy and first aired on the cable television network MTV on December 14th, 1993. As opposed to traditional practice on the television series, Nirvana played a setlist composed of mainly lesser-known material and cover versions of songs by The Vaselines, David Bowie, Meat Puppets (during which they were joined by two members of the group onstage), and Lead Belly.

When you get your own MTV Unplugged session, it is seen by many bands and artists as a career highlight: an intimate moment in time where you can lay yourself bare for your fans to see, often cementing yourself as one of the greats. The likes of Lauryn Hill, Oasis and Eric Clapton are just a few of the names that have graced the MTV stage as part of their Unplugged sessions.

One of the most iconic MTV Unplugged sets came in 1993 when Seattle grunge gods Nirvana took to the stage to unequivocally write their names in the history books. Backed by a youthful Dave Grohl on drums and bassist Krist Novoselic, the spotlight shone on enigmatic frontman Kurt Cobain. The producers behind the show always wanted artists to play their biggest hits, however Nirvana had different ideas. Their set was packed full of B-sides and covers, swapping out the more obvious crowd pleasers for something more against the grain.

Kicking things off with ‘About A Girl’, it becomes quite clear that this was going to be something special, and a whole world away from the heavy, melodic assault that they were renowned for.

The anthemic ‘Come As You Are’ drew a raucous cheer from the assembled crowd, as Cobain nonchalantly recited the lyrics. Their cover of The Vaselines’ ‘Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’ saw Novoselic swapping his bass for an accordion, while Grohl’s ability to play the bass and percussion at the same time continued to wow the crowd.

A cover of David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ is an obvious highlight, with many people often preferring this version to the original. A couple of B-side gems follow this, with ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ and ‘Dumb’ being stripped down to their bare bones. The band return to their best selling album ‘Nevermind’ for the next few tracks, with folky renditions of ‘Polly’, ‘On A Plain’ and ‘Something In The Way’, satisfying the crowds lust for their more popular cuts.

As the set draws to a close, Nirvana call upon their friends Cris and Curt Kirkwood from the band Meat Puppets. With the Kirkwood brothers joining them onstage, they rip through three of their band’s songs: ‘Plateau’, ‘Oh, Me’ and ‘Lake Of Fire’, each shifted from their punky roots to be delivered as folky lullabies that the crowd lap up.

The final two songs on the album are the ones you get the most goosebumps from. The eerily chilling delivery of ‘All Apologies’ hits you right in the heart as soon as Cobain squawks the opening impassioned lines.

However, it’s the last song, a cover of a traditional folk song that the group renamed ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ that equally amazes and unsettles you. As Cobain wails “my girl, my girl, don’t lie to me,” pain etched all over his voice, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up instantly. Little did we know that, just a few months later, Cobain would take his own life at his home in Seattle.

The original album was released posthumously in 1994, almost a year after it was recorded and quickly went on to become one of the best-selling records in the MTV Unplugged series, a huge testament to a band who stepped far away from their comfort zone and created a piece of art that has stood the test of time.

Words: Mike Wood

Lisa Prank is a true-blue romantic. In fact, “I’m very preoccupied with romance,” songwriter Robin Edwards admits. On her second full-length for Father/Daughter Records, Perfect Love Song, Edwards acknowledges the ultimate joke of love: that there is no perfect, so you’ll get tripped up while chasing it—but what else could possibly be more rich, more exhilarating, more everything, skinned knees be damned? Stitching together pop-punk panache and pillow talk introspection, Perfect Love Song finds Lisa Prank not in pursuit of the flawless impossible, as the title may suggest. Rather, she’s interested in the entire experience of love and learning through it. “I never learned how to get mad,” Edwards sings on the reflective “Get Mad”—but she did learn how to write totally gratifying pop songs about it. Perfect Love Song is an album that takes a soft-focus gaze at romance’s sharpest points and edges, both the exciting peaks and the scary cliffs.

As Edwards was navigating a drawn out, Lifetime-movie level heartbreak, she found herself drifting back towards the home she had in her friendships. She moved back into her old room in storied Seattle punk house, Spruce House, sharing a door with Tacocat’s Bree McKenna (who’s also her bandmate, along with Julia Shapiro, in the supergroup Who Is She?). She’d knock and ask McKenna for feedback on songs, who wound up playing bass on the record. To produce, Edwards tapped close friend and indie pop legend Rose Melberg of Tiger Trap, The Softies, and Go Sailor. Melberg’s artistic alignment and personal closeness to Edwards gave her near psychic insight into Lisa Prank’s sonic goals, but at enough remove to provide breakthroughs to Edwards at stuck points (Melberg also co-wrote “Telescope,” and sang harmonies on several tracks). It was a collaboration that felt like coaching, leading her achieve her ideal polished-punk sound, alongside Ian LeSage who engineered and mixed the record at the Vault Studios. Recording was fun, too. Friends were around, creating the kind of lighthearted, mutually supportive feeling one needs surrounding them feel like themselves again after retrieving their heart back from a breakup. Lisa Prank’s last record, Adult Teen, used a Roland MC-505 drum machine, for Perfect Love Song, she traded it in for real life drummer, Tom Fitzgibbon.

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Writing Perfect Love Song was Edwards’ opportunity “to personally say all the things that I wanted to say, or wish I had said.” In “Scream the Truth,” a gaslighting extinguisher anthem about reclaiming your sanity, she gets to be mad on her terms: “I wasn’t losing my mind,” she sings. Says Edwards, “it’s about being frustrated seeing someone else navigate the world as a very surface-level nice person who is performatively feminist and social-justice minded, but knowing the truth of how they treat people in their personal life.” The opening track, “Rodeo,” likens the searing, sinking-in feeling of a post-fight realization—“‘cause ‘I don’t wanna be in love’/means I don’t wanna be in love/with you”—to the dangers and desires of the spectacle of love. “By now I know/this is the rodeo I chose,” she sings, electing to get back on her horse and ride, acknowledging the pain that’s part of that game.

“I wish a different emotion was so alive and exciting to me,” Edwards laughs, “but love is just the one that feels so visceral and consuming.” Perfect Love Song explodes the roller coaster snapshots of romance in bursts of poppy neon bright color, with Edwards’ cheeky perspective polished to full pop-punk shine. And the mission of that genre, one could argue, is to keep on bopping along through the bullshit of life. To stay buoyant, to find fun in the big what-ifs and whatevers. It what keeps the dream Lisa Prank afloat: as she sings on “Constellations,” “still I keep on hoping this is some perfect love song/and we’ll go on and on and on, and on and on, and on.”

released October 4th, 2019

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“Four of Arrows” is the incredible new album from Seattle based indie rockers Great Grandpa.
A departure from the playful nods to pizza and zombies on 2017’s Plastic Cough, this beautiful collection of 11 songs weaves through the pains of familial divisions, partnership, internal and external forgiveness, and the struggles of mental illness, going headfirst into the darkness but escaping from the other side with their most transparent and accomplished work to date. A must-listen.

FFO Big Thief, Hop Along, Better Oblivion Community Center

“Four of Arrows”, a creative turn toward introspection and Great Grandpa’s collective result of rest and solitude. Undoubtedly, the 11 songs comprising Four of Arrows.  The writing and recording process had evolved – less Seattle garage jams and more vulnerable solo songwriting sessions. Most of the songs on Four of Arrows were written in isolation by Patrick and Carrie Goodwin while traveling and living in the Midwest.

The band instantly found common threads between their individual contributions, citing mutual love and admiration for vulnerable and emotionally resonate music. Four of Arrows embraces subtlety and pays close attention to the quiet. From the methodical dirge of “Dark Green Water” into the haunting and howling guitar of “Digger”Great Grandpa try something new by letting the acoustic guitar and piano lay the foundation for many of the album’s tracks.
‘Four of Arrows’ is out October 25, 2019 via Double Double Whammy.

“Four of Arrows” is out October 25th

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Chastity Belt’s energy is like a circuit, circling around the silly and the sincere. Tongue-in-cheek shit-shooting and existential rumination feed into each other infinitely.

Theirs is a long-term relationship, and that loop sustains them. That’s a creative thesis in and of itself, but isn’t that also just the mark of a true-blue friendship?

The band talks a lot about intention these days—how to be more present with each other. The four piece—Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar, drums), Lydia Lund (vocals, guitar), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals, guitar) and Annie Truscott (bass)—is nine years deep in this, after all. It seems now, more than ever, that circuit is a movement of intentionality, one that creates a space inside which they can be themselves, among themselves. It’s a space where the euphoria of making music with your best friends is protected from the outside world’s churning expectations. It’s a kind of safe zone for the band to occupy as their best selves: a group of friends who love each other.

Their fourth record, Chastity Belt, comes out of that safe space. After a restorative few months on hiatus in 2018, each member worked on solo material or toured with other bands. “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. “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.”

Their discography is an album-by-album documentation of a manic desire for human connection that invariably leads to the slow unhinging of the ego—and by extension, a constant series of self-destructive choices; this is explored at length on the indelibly sad 2017 album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. On their self-titled, fourth LP, the Seattle band don’t get any closer to clarity, but they do arrive at an emotional détente of sorts: there won’t be any catharsis, at least not yet, or perhaps, never.

Chastity Belt’s sound has flattened out since their earliest releases, the sonics becoming more insular as the moods became more nebulous. Here, working alongside producer Melina Duterte  the group imbue their songs with a superficial serenity that’s similar in feel to vocalist and guitarist Julia Shapiro’s recent solo record, Perfect Version. The songs on Chastity Belt flow seamlessly into each other, drifting along on an even ebb of gentle rhythms and even gentler vocals; Shapiro has dropped her bellows and spends more time singing in her higher registers.

Chastity Belt’s placid surface is further emphasized by Shapiro’s tendency to repeat platitudes in her lyrics, almost as if she’s talking to herself. “It takes time to really get it right / Let go of control,” she sings on the dreamy “It Takes Time,” her voice hovering lightly over a lazy looping guitar line as the band sinks into the amorphous atmospherics behind her. But the surface-level tranquility serves only to obscure. Later, on the brutally pretty self-critique “Drown,” Shapiro softly confesses what’s been true all along: “Repeated meaningless words don’t work / Speech is pointless.”

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There’s nothing glamorous about the personality crisis happening on Chastity Belt: We’re not drowning our sorrows on a Grecian isle, we’re just going to the bar in a Toyota Rav-4 (“Rav-4.”) This is a record about giving up, with no anticipation of better things on the horizon. But at least we’re among friends. Chastity Belt derive their singular strength from group solidarity, and on this self-titled release they circle the wagons in an even more rigid lockstep, their deepening musical bond offering temporary shelter from the perpetual blues. The generosity between the players on Chastity Belt suggests that, if there is any way to be saved from disappearing completely in a lonely world, it’s through the healing energy of the group hug, or, in this case, the rock band.

Their experience navigating adult life within the strange seasons of the music industry has Chastity Belt orienting themselves towards whatever gets them to feel the most present with each other, in any part of the band grind. With the luxury of spending several weeks in the studio with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte, Chastity Belt was able to experiment. The new self-titled album is the work of the band playing “old songs, and trying new things on top of it,” like adding more dynamic harmonies and violin, says bassist Annie Truscott. Lydia, Gretchen, and Julia all share lead vocals on different tracks on the album. The result is their most sonically developed and nuanced record yet; one that’s not only a product of, but a series of reflections on what it means to take what you need and to understand yourself better.

Many of Chastity Belt’s signature dynamics, from the silly to the sincere, have read as feminist gestures: the Cool Slut DGAF-iness, the shrugging off of the “women in rock” press gargle, the fundamentally punk act of creating music on your own as a woman, and being lyrically forthright. What the making of Chastity Belt reveals is that the band has tapped into a deeper tradition of women making art on their terms: the act of self-preservation in favor of the long game. In favor of each other. In this cultural moment, taking space like this to prioritize the love over the product seems progressive. Chastity Belt’s intentions have resulted in an album deeply expressive of four people’s commitment to what they love most: making music with each other.

Valley Maker is the contemplative psych folk project of songwriter Austin Crane. Crane uses billowing, revelatory metaphors to narrate his own journey through cosmic mystery and the essential search for meaning. Check out the vital full band performance by Valley Maker live at Audiotree. Recorded on May 1st, 2019 in Chicago, IL.


Setlist : Be Born Today
 04:44, A Couple Days 03:48, Supernatural 03:39, Beautiful Birds Flying 04:06, Seven Signs 02:55, Baby, In Your Kingdom 04:03

Band Members 
Austin Crane – Vocals and Guitar
Amber Joyner – Vocals and Keys
Jared Price – Bass and Guitar
Nic Jenkins – Drums and Percussion

Lisa Prank is a true blue romantic. In fact, “I’m very preoccupied with romance,” songwriter Robin Edwards admits, “and I’m always trying to figure out what the deal with love is.” On her new record, “Perfect Love Song”, Edwards acknowledges the ultimate joke of love: that there is no perfect, so you’ll get tripped up while chasing it but what else could possibly be more rich, more exhilarating, more everything, skinned knees be damned? Stitching together pop punk panache and pillow talk introspection, Perfect Love Song finds Lisa Prank not in pursuit of the
flawless impossible, as the title may suggest. Rather, she’s interested in the entire experience of love and learning through it. “I never learned how to be mad,” Edwards sings on the reflective “Get Mad” but she did learn how to write totally gratifying pop songs about it, with the end of “processing my feelings, and hoping that other people can relate if they’ve been in a similar situation.” Perfect Love Song is an album that takes a soft focus gaze at romance’s sharpest points and edges, both the exciting peaks and the scary cliffs.As Edwards was navigating a drawn out, Lifetime movie level heartbreak, she found herself drifting back towards the home she had in her friendships. She moved back into her old room in storied Seattle punk manse, Spruce House, sharing a door with Tacocat’s Bree McKenna. She’d knock and ask McKenna for feedback on songs, who wound up playing guitar on the record. To produce, Edwards tapped old friend Rose Melberg of Tiger Trap. Melberg’s artistic alignment and personal closeness to Edwards gave her near psychic insight into Lisa Prank’s sonic goals,
but at enough remove to provide breakthroughs to Edwards at stuck points. It was a collaboration that felt like coaching. She helped Edwards step back and look at harmonies, percussion, guitar tones she may have not considered at first, but that helped her achieve her ideal polished punk sound.

Plus, it was fun in the studio, with friends around, creating the kind of lighthearted, mutually supportive feeling one needs surrounding them feel like themselves again after retrieving their heart back from a breakup.

“I love love songs, or falling out of love songs,” explains Edwards, “where I can see one moment of the situation and know what the whole story is.” Writing Perfect Love Song was Edwards’ opportunity “to personally say all the things that I wanted to say, or wish I had said.” In “Scream the Truth,” a gaslighting extinguisher anthem about reclaiming your sanity, she gets to be mad on her terms: “I wasn’t losing my mind,” she sings. Says Edwards, “its about seeing someone else navigate the world as a very nice guy whose very woke and feminist or whatever, and knowing the truth about him.” The first track, “Rodeo,” likens the searing, sinking in feeling of a
post fight realization “‘cause ‘I don’t wanna be in love’/means I don’t wanna be in love/with you” to the dangers and desires of the spectacle of love. “By now I know/this is the rodeo I chose,” she sings, electing to get back on her horse and ride, acknowledging the pain that’s part of that game.

“I wish a different emotion was so alive and exciting to me,” Edwards laughs, “but love is just the one that feels so visceral and consuming!” Perfect Love Song explodes the roller coaster snapshots of romance in bursts of poppy neon bright color, with Edward’s cheeky perspective
polished to full shine. “Lisa Prank has humor to it,” she says. “Some of the songs are really sad to me, but it’s still fun pop punk.” And the mission of that genre, one could argue, is to keep on bopping along through the bullshit of life. To stay buoyant, to find fun in the big what ifs and whatevers.

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It what keeps the dream Lisa Prank afloat: as she sings on “Constellation,” “still I keep on hoping this is some perfect love song/and we’ll go on and on and on, and on and on, and on.”
releases October 4th, 2019

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With Falling, Dude York show that they are a prime example of a band owning their adolescent renaissance by channeling, rather than imitating, their music influences (some of which include The Cure, Black Sabbath, Blink-182 and Carly Rae Jepsen) and echoing the emotions of yesteryear. Listening to Dude York’s latest power pop album, the Seattle band’s fourth to date, sends teenage pangs through your heart that remind us how intense and overwhelming every crush or heartbreak used to be (or still is).

Claire England (bass, vocals) opens up Falling with the sweet daydream that is “Longest Time,” which swings like a pendulum between her earnest voice and electrifying guitar. She romanticizes the honeymoon period of relationships, singing, “This is the best part / When you believe I can do nothing wrong.”

“Box,” the album highlight, takes a different approach in its post-punk revival sound, still managing to absolutely yank on your heartstrings. The first line more than tips its hat to the Killers’ ever-beltable “Mr. Brightside,” as Peter Richards (guitar, vocals) laments that “It started with a kiss / Who would have thought that it would end like this,” bringing back middle school dance flashbacks of Brandon Flowers deciding “It was only a kiss.” Life in 2019 can be so overwhelming that numbness seems like our only defense,

Dude York is ready to put you back in touch with your most visceral, excruciatingly intense emotions. Fair warning, though—if you put Falling on, you may be tempted to doodle your crush’s name all over your binder.

“Should’ve” is from Dude York’s 2019 album “Falling”.

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.

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.