Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

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Forgiveness can feel like a foreign concept within this year’s endless unspoolings of shock, rage and cynicism. And yet, there was Brandi Carlile — the era’s most powerful purveyor of that much-abused gift to hungry audiences, the rock anthem ,making a whole album about what it means to practice it. By The Way, I Forgive You begins with a gentle ballad grounded in Carlile’s close harmonies with her main collaborators, Tim and Phil Hanseroth; it contains the album’s title phrase. It’s a story of rejection (for Carlile, by a minister who refused to baptize her when she came out as a teen) with the moral that moving on only works when you declare the weight of the damage done. The album ends with a Joni Mitchell-inspired piano ballad about a near-disastrous fight Carlile had with her wife, the song itself the peace offering Carlile offers, in the lyrics: “Girl, you can slam the door behind you, it ain’t ever gonna close.” Between these bookmarks Carlile shares stories of the wrongs people do each other and what it really takes to enact forgiveness: resilience and recognition of wrongdoing, tempered by the determination to live fully, even with the wounds.

Carlile’s huge, warm voice, with its vibrato ending each phrase as if turning into a memory, works perfectly within the album’s grand, expressive settings, untethered to genre, massive but intimate. Whether sharing the story of “Sugartooth,” an addict and the people who love him even as he slips out of their safe hold, or assuring the bullied children of “The Joke” that they will walk in the sunlight of their own truth soon, or realizing that her father’s advice to bear no malice doesn’t contradict her mother’s about knowing when to fight, Carlile rises to meet its imperatives. Each song asks how she, how any of us, can face the ugliness life creates and still hold out a hand — toward the dark, so that it might possibly transform; toward those we love and those we fear, so that, as one prayer of forgiveness once said, we all may be delivered.

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Pedro the Lion  have released “Model Homes,” as the second single off their forthcoming album Phoenix, out January. 18th, 2019, through Polyvinyl Records. ‘

“Model Homes” follows October’s “Yellow Bike,” the first single off Phoenix. It lies in the same propulsive vein as that previous track, finding David Bazan newly re-energized and ready to face the world after giving up his most famous musical mantle for over a decade. “A redwood tree, properly starved for resources, might easily mistake itself for a saguaro cactus and learn to feel at home in the desert,” Bazan said in a statement, as inscrutable as ever.

Though songwriter Dave Bazan fronts the enigmatic rock band Pedro the Lion, his emotionally charged narratives, eye for telling detail, and mournful voice have more in common with J.D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories” or Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood” than with the usual lyrical slant of popular music. Bazan is a gifted storyteller, weaving parables of spiritual conflict, suburban ennui, and personal surrender into magnetic, well-crafted songs.

“Model Homes” is taken from Pedro The Lion’s new album, Phoenix, out January 18, 2019.

Daily Dose: Valley Maker, "A Couple Days"

Austin Crane is Valley Maker, a singer song-writer hailing from Seattle, USA. He will release his sophomore LP, Rhododendron, on October. 12th via Frenchkiss Records.

Following his previous single, “Light On The Ground,” Crane released another new single, album opener “A Couple Days.” The song was one of four tracks that he recorded alongside Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi whom he met back in college at the University of South Carolina. Bear produced the track and also contributed drums, bass, keyboards and backing vocals.

The song, which also has an accompanying video directed by Joseph Kolean, showcases Crane’s lush, textured folk vocals, spacious sound and melancholy backing vocals. His language might be metaphorical and rhetorical, but his tender voice and indie-rock songwriting are both immensely grounding.

The remainder of the album was produced by Trevor Spencer (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes), and includes contributions from drummer James Barone (Beach House, Tennis), bassist Eli Thomson (Father John Misty), trumpeter Brandon Camarda, saxophonist Andrew Swanson and vocalist Amy Fitchette.

From the new Valley Maker record, Rhododendron – out October 12, 2018 on Frenchkiss Records.

David Bazan’s been reliably releasing music and touring under his own name for nearly a decade; his most recent record, Care, came out last year. But before that, he was Pedro the Lion. He retired the name in November 2005, and after that, it felt off-limits: For Bazan, that designation belonged to a band, even if he was its only constant. Although Bazan was writer, arranger and principle player on all the Pedro the Lion records, he performed with a full band on tour. His self-titled material, however – whether recent synth-based pop experiments or acoustic reflections on big-picture questions – was often played solo.

“Yellow Bike,” the first single from Phoenix.The song begins with Bazan recollecting a childhood Christmas scene in his warm, worn tone. The titular gift under the tree makes his heart race, a kick drum thump animating the excitement. Over insistent bass and ascending guitar, he connects those childhood bike rides to an adulthood on the road. Its lived-in video, rendered in washed colors and grainy textures .

For both fans and Bazan himself, there was a sense of resolution in the reclamation and return to that name, which explains the excitement last year when he announced a handful of Pedro the Lion tour dates, a full U.S. tour. And now, there’s Phoenix, the first new Pedro the Lion record in 15 years. Out January 18th, Bazan recorded the album joined by Erik Walters on backing guitar and vocals and Sean Lane on drums.

Phoenix comes out January. 18th via Polyvinyl Records.

The album “Nevermind” turned Nirvana from unknowns to the biggest musical act in the world and positioned frontman Kurt Cobain as the face of grunge. Although a sensational album, it’s follow-up record “In Utero” that cemented Nirvana’s legacy. Unhappy with the over polished production of Nevermind and concerned with accusations of selling out, Cobain ditched producer Butch Vig for Steve Albini and set about recording an album capturing the harsh, punk influenced sound of their debut Bleach.

In a detailed four-page proposal to the band, Albini laid down his ground rules, the most shocking being his refusal to accept royalties. “I think paying a royalty to a producer or engineer is ethically indefensible. I would like to be paid like a plumber: I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth,” he wrote. “There’s no way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.” He suggested Pachyderm Studios for its isolation in the woods, claiming that recording in a city would cause distractions. He also banned visits from Geffen Records staff members, whom he called “front office bullet heads.”

Albini believed in working fast without over-thinking, so the band cut the album in just two weeks. “If a record takes more than a week to make, somebody’s fucking up,” he wrote in the proposal. The speed at which they recorded, combined with the raw, visceral sound and minimal production, differed greatly from Nevermind, an album that was incredibly clean and streamlined.

In the February 1993, Nirvana made their way to the secluded Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, to begin work on their third album. The last time they had stepped foot in a studio, they were a little known Seattle band that had just left Sub Pop for David Geffen’s DGC. Now, with a multiplatinum album that knocked Michael Jackson off the charts and turned them into one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, they were under immense pressure to follow it up.

“In Utero” achieved this in spades. Draining opener “Serve The Servants” (“Teenage angst has paid off well”), thrash influenced “Very Ape” and cascading hit single” Heart-Shaped Box” were raw sounding tracks exemplifying Cobain’s want of an abrasive sounding record. “Dumb” and the moving finale of “All Apologies” offered lighter moments amongst the chaos, and although Cobain claimed the lyrical content of the album impersonal, it’s hard not to draw parallels between In Utero’s themes and Cobain’s life at that time. It’s 41 minutes of raw, uncompromising rock that was unlike anything else in the pop landscape. Cobain, disenchanted by his overwhelming fame and the widespread media coverage of his personal life, was ready to vent.

Cobain’s bleak worldview was on full display. Many of the songs are best remembered for their gut-wrenching, stripped-back acoustic renditions on MTV Unplugged, but In Utero is treasured among hardcore fans as Nirvana in their purest form. The original title was “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”.
“Nothing more than a joke,” Cobain told Rolling Stone. The line, which first appeared in Cobain’s journals in mid-1992, became the working title for the follow-up to Nevermind. “I’m thought of as this pissy, complaining, freaked-out schizophrenic who wants to kill himself all the time. And I thought it was a funny title. But I knew the majority of people wouldn’t understand it.”. Fearing the title would result in the same legal trouble Judas Priest faced three years prior when two fans shot themselves, Krist Novoselic urged Cobain to rethink it. The other working title wasVerse, Chorus, Verse, but Cobain finally settled on In Utero, which he took from a poem of Courtney Love’s.

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Cobain had one goal in mind: to bring the band back to their punk-rock roots. Their millions of new fans may have reveredNevermind, but Cobain thought it sounded “candy-ass” and way too commercial. So he recruited esteemed engineer Steve Albini (who had recorded Pixies, the Breeders, the Jesus Lizard and other Cobain faves) and headed for the woods in rural Minnesota

Cobain wrote “Rape Me” to dramatically condemn rape and emphasize his support for women, but the song sparked immediate controversy. “Over the last few years, people have had such a hard time understanding what our message is, what we’re trying to convey, that I just decided to be as bold as possible,” he told Rolling Stone. A huge supporter of the riot grrrl movement and a fan of bands with female members like the Breeders and the Raincoats, Cobain wanted In Utero to pave the way for more female artists. “Maybe it will inspire women to pick up guitars and start bands,” Cobain said in 1993. “Because it’s the only future in rock ‘n’ roll.”

Wal-Mart and Kmart refused to carry “In Utero” because of the song “Rape Me” and the graphic imagery on the back cover.
Cobain agreed to change the title of “Rape Me” to “Waif Me,” while the back cover was softened to comply with the demands. “When I was a kid, I could only go to Wal-Mart,” he told his manager Danny Goldberg. “I want the kids to be able to get this record.” 

Understandably, “Rape Me” caused other issues for the band, most notably at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards when network executives told the band that if they played the song they’d immediately cut to commercial. Feeling challenged, Cobain played a bit of the song when they walked out and then went directly into a blazing rendition of “Lithium.” 

All three members received credit on “Scentless Apprentice,” an extreme rarity for the group since Cobain normally wrote the songs himselfThe raging “Scentless Apprentice,” inspired by Patrick Süskind’s 1985 novel Perfume, is the only track on the studio album co-written by Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl. (On Nevermind, they shared credit on “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and its B side “Aneurysm.”) “Scentless Apprentice” was recorded in just one take. “Nobody said, ‘We should do it again,’” Grohl said “Because that was the fucking take.”

Cobain wrote out a detailed vision for the “Heart-Shaped Box” video with William Burroughs as the star. “William and I sitting across from one another at a table (black and white),” he wrote. “Lots of blinding sun from the windows behind us holding hands staring into each other’s eyes.”

By the time he approached Burroughs, he had decided to cast him as an elderly Jesus, even offering to conceal his identity. “I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives,” he wrote in a letter. “Let me assure you that this is not the case.” Though Burroughs declined the offer, Cobain finally got to meet his beat hero at his home in Kansas that fall. 

After Cobain met Courtney Love in 1990, Love gave Dave Grohl a heart-shaped box to give to Cobain. She filled it with items that matched Cobain’s taste — a porcelain doll, dried roses and other tokens — and sprayed some of her perfume on it. As Cobain and Love’s romance blossomed, the item became a symbol of their love. It was also the one item in their home they had in common.

 

“Pennyroyal Tea” was one of Nirvana’s first songs to showcase the soft-loud-soft formula they became famous for. It was first written and recorded on a four-track with Dave Grohl in Cobain’s house in Olympia, Washington. It went through several permutations before its release on In Utero, including instrumental takes recorded by Jack Endino in 1992. “Pennyroyal Tea” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were debuted live the same night, at the O.K. Hotel in Seattle in 1991. “Pennyroyal Tea” was slated to be the third single for In Utero,but was cancelled after Cobain’s suicide in 1994.
After Cobain’s death, the label decided to recall copies of the single, which had a B side of “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” and destroy them. But copies had already been sent overseas and somewhere between 200 and 400 of them reached the fan community.

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Say Hi is Eric Elbogen. It used to be called Say Hi To Your Mom. Like a good neighbor, A new Say Hi LP! Can you believe it?! Caterpillar Centipede is record number twelve, with ten rock gems that will worm their way into your heart in whatever way possible (hence the title). LPs, CDs and a brand new t-shirt are available in addition to the digital version . Until this week we hadn’t though about Say Hi for probably the best part of a decade. Then, as they do an email landed in our inbox, declaring a new album on the way, a new single to listen to and we were instantly propelled backwards, to a box room in a Leeds flat, and it was every bit as exciting as we remember it.

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The track, Green With Envy, is the latest single to be lifted from Say Hi’s upcoming album, Caterpillar Centipede, which is out next week. With it’s Teenage Dreams like guitar riff, glitchy electronic pulse and emotive vocal, it’s just a fabulous alt-pop song. As Say Hi frontman, Eric Elbogen recalls, “‘riffage’ and ‘anthem’ were the two words going through my mind once the tape was rolling”. He’s not wrong; it’s a stone-cold indie-disco floor-filling banger, just about 10 years after they went out of favour with the mainstream. Still, with an album inspired by being visited in a dream by a centaur called David Bowie, Say Hi might just be the band to bring it back into fashion, or at least have those of us too old for dancing dreaming nostalgically of a youth well lived: either way it’s a triumph.

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Seattle-based singer-songwriter Austin Crane, aka Valley Maker, will release his sophomore LP, Rhododendron, on October. 12th via Frenchkiss Records.

Following his previous single, “Light On The Ground,” Crane released another new single, album opener “A Couple Days.” The song was one of four tracks that he recorded alongside Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi whom he met back in college at the University of South Carolina. Bear produced the track and also contributed drums, bass, keyboards and backing vocals.

The song, which also has an accompanying video directed by Joseph Kolean, showcases Crane’s lush, textured folk vocals, spacious sound and melancholy backing vocals. His language might be metaphorical and rhetorical, but his tender voice and indie-rock songwriting are both immensely grounding.

The remainder of the album was produced by Trevor Spencer (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes), and includes contributions from drummer James Barone (Beach House, Tennis), bassist Eli Thomson (Father John Misty), trumpeter Brandon Camarda, saxophonist Andrew Swanson and vocalist Amy Fitchette.

From the new Valley Maker record, Rhododendron – out 10.12.18 on Frenchkiss Records

Recently, Seattle trio Dude York surprised fans with a new digital single, “Moon.” Today, we are sharing another track from their Springtime recording session at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco. Guitarist Peter Richards handles vocal duties on “What Would You Do If You Had Some Money Now?”

Dude York’s next performance is Friday, July 20th on the main stage at the Capitol Hill Block Party.

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Hardly Art Records is pleased to announce that Seattle riffers Versing have officially joined the roster. The four-piece has been turning heads in the city for the past two years with their taut and brainy take on Northwest rock, and today they’ve shared “Silver Dollar,” a digital single that constructs a narrative around the social injustice of so-called “affluenza.”

This Seattle-based band should have a slew of positives that should be attached to their name. The latest signing to Hardly Art Records mines post-punk, alt pop and shoegaze to create their newest single “Silver Dollar,” a droning number with an attached VHS-style video that recalls James, Catherine Wheel, latter-era the Clean and early XTC in one fell swoop. Heavy guitars are a tell for the band’s previous endeavors, but they never take precedent over the group’s overall melodic focus despite the song’s twisted subject matter — a privileged individual guilty of hit and run who expects to get away with it due to social status.

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“Silver Dollar” is a new digital single from Seattle band Versing.

A Seattle by way of Los Angeles four-piece who drag the sounds of 60s girl bands and classic surf rock into a sun-kissed Californian present. Exuding effortless cool, La Luz take the lazy, endless summer mood of Los Angeles at sunset, and essay on it through driving rhythms, honeycombed vocal harmonies, and breezy surf and garage rock guitar figures straight out of the Takeshi Terauchi playbook. On Floating Features, the four-piece write rich, vivid, and impressionistic studies of life viewed through the surreal, hallucinogenic haze of the city of angels, earning their spot in the Californian sun. La Luz hasn’t made one single weak song- everything they do rips. This new album just continues their unbeaten streak.

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With comparisons to Mild High Club, The Shangri-Las, Dum Dum Girls La Luz started in the summer of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard) and Lena Simon (bass).