Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

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Infographic: Seattle music connections

November 18, 2009

Rachel Ratner’s Cartographic Study of Musical Incest is a giant (60 sq ft) map of the connections between Seattle bands, from Nirvana to Fleet Foxes to scores of bands that you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re an Emerald City local. If you are, you can also see the full map (the above is a detail) at the Expo 87 art show next week.

Also, I’d love to see one of these for the Boston music scene? Anybody game?

(via Line Out)

Rachel Ratner’s Cartographic Study of Musica

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Archive of Crocodile live sets

September 21, 2009

Odegaard media center

Jim Anderson, the sound engineer at Seattle’s legendary (and recently re-opened) live music venue The Crocodile, has donated five years worth of live show recordings (2002-2007) to the University of Washington’s Ethnomusicology Archives – nearly 3000 hours of music. Artists include z=z faves the Dresden Dolls, the Mountain Goats, the National, and oodles more – you can take a look at the huge list and find your own favorites. The good news? They’re all available to the public. The catch: In order to obviate licensing issues and piracy concerns, you have to go in person, to the ‘listening stations’ at UW’s Odegaard Library. I think it’d be great if artists could agree to put their recordings in the public domain or otherwise agree to let them out on the Internet – I sincerely hope the University is looking into the possibility.

Since I spent most of the last year on the University of Washington campus, I’m kicking myself that I only found out about this collection after I returned to the East Coast. On the other hand, it’s probably just as well – I can’t imagine that spending all my time in the library, headphones on, would have really helped my productivity.

(thanks to Scott for the heads-up!)

Image: Media Center by Flickr user University of Washington Libraries, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.

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….aaaand, we’re back! (kind of)

July 24, 2009

Apologies to our loyal readerszed equals zee‘s crack blogging team got kind of hammered by work responsibilities (and I am now increasingly in awe of Michael Epstein of The Motion Sick).

We won’t be back to our full schedule until August, but we will be posting over the coming week as z=z headquarters relocate back to Boston – if you’re a longtime reader, you may recall our move out west. As we’ll be doing it as an epic cross-Canada trek, stay tuned for a special week focusing on independent Canadian music. Finally, I’ve been sitting on this great bio of Sonic Youth and I have a copy of it to give away, so keep an eye out for that (and I’ll do my best to mail it from some hamlet in the middle of the Great White North).

Finally, we’re planning another  zed equals zee happy hour in August, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Not enough z=z for you? You can  follow debcha on Twitter for tidbits of music news, as well as snapshots from across Canada and assorted nerdiness.

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Listen local: Visqueen

May 8, 2009

Okay, now I’m really annoyed at the music industry. How come my local radio station played all kinds of crappy third-rate Nirvana wannabes on the other side of the continent, but I had to wait until 2009 to hear about Visqueen? (Seattleites and dedicated indie-music lovers, feel free to upbraid me for my cluelessness.) I caught their song “Beauty Deluxe” on KEXP a few weeks ago (off their sophomore release, Sunset on Dateland) and I’ve been exploring their back catalog since. Their power-pop sound has a bit of a harder punk edge, like The New Pornographers laced with the Buzzcocks. Couple that with lyrics like, “Circuitry has soldered me like fuses to a frame/a tiny dial, and love erupts on broadband” (from “Crush on Radio”) and I’m a goner. The best part? It looks like they are set to release a new album this year, their first since Sunset in 2004, so I’m crossing my fingers for a chance to see them live.

MP3: Visqueen – Beauty Deluxe [buy]

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Decibel Fest no more?

May 7, 2009

decibel-poster

The Stranger reports that the fate of Seattle’s electronic music festival, Decibel, hangs in the balance. Says founder Sean Horton (also known as Nordic Soul):

So far 2009 hasn’t been a very good year for Decibel in terms of attendance at our one-off events, which isn’t a good sign for the 2009 festival. Not sure what to make of it, but if we can’t raise the necessary money by the middle of June, the 2009 festival program will be cancelled.

Like many promoters, Horton and fellow organizers have been fronting the money for the festival on their own credit cards. The credit crunch has reduced their ability to fund it this way, including foiling Horton’s attempt to take out a loan against his house. On top of that, attendance at yesterday’s gala fundraiser was far lower than expectations.

It’s an incredible pity, since Decibel 2008 was fantastic (I bought a pass before I even moved to Seattle and went out every night, to what seemed like pretty crowded venues). One issue is that Decibel, unlike other festivals such as Mutek, only recently registered as a non-profit, thereby becoming eligible for local arts funding. Advanced sales for Mutek and Movement are pointing towards increased attendance from last year (as was the case for Coachella), so it’s quite possible that Decibel would also do fine this year, but that’s a hell of a risk to take when it’s your personal financial wherewithal at stake. Here’s hoping they get the funding sorted out. If you want to help, you can make a tax-deductible contribution via their funding partner, Shunpike.

MP3: Claude von Stroke – Who’s Afraid of Detroit? (Audion remix) [beatport]

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Muppet Rawk art show

May 6, 2009

muppettrock

This Saturday, May 9th, is the opening of the Muppet Rawk II group show at Ouch My Eye Gallery, just south of downtown Seattle. The mandate was to take an existing rock album cover, and re-imagine it using Muppets, in a 12″x12″ format. You can see a preview of one of the paintings at Boing Boing.

Needless to say, this is what I will be doing on Saturday night.

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Listen (really) local: The Moondoggies

April 20, 2009

moondoggies

Seattle’s alt-country-garage group The Moondoggies played a free show on the HUB lawn of the University of Washington campus last Friday afternoon. As far as venue locations go, this one was pretty unimpeachable, being just a few hundred metres from my office. The lovely spring day and campus buildings were a perfect backdrop to The Moondoggies’ Southern-rock-style twangy guitar and three-part harmonies.

MP3: The Moondoggies – Changing [buy]

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Great Lake Swimmers and Mother Mother

March 31, 2009

great_lake_swimmers02

Two bands I love are both playing tonight (Tuesday, March 31st) in Seattle – somewhat to my dismay, since I’m in Boston.

If you happen to be in Seattle, this is the plan: Head to the High Dive in Fremont around nine, to catch Mother Mother, the opening act for Sam Roberts. Then quietly sidle out (you can see Mr. Roberts next time) and head two miles up NW Leary Way to the Tractor Tavern in Ballard to catch Great Lake Swimmers (above). They’re supporting their spanking-new album, Lost Channels, out today. Go see both bands if you can.

MP3: Mother Mother – Body of Years [buy]

MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – Pulling on a Line [buy]

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Wintersleep and An Horse at Vera Project

March 27, 2009

an-horse

A Commonwealth double-bill tonight (Friday) in Seattle, as Australia’s An Horse (pictured)  share the Vera Project stage with Halifax, NS’s Wintersleep. An Horse are touring to support the US release of their first full-length, Rearrange Beds, which came out last week, and this concert is some US exposure for Wintersleep and their fantastic album, Welcome to the Night Sky. Should be a great show.

MP3: Wintersleep – Oblivion [buy]

MP3: An Horse – Postcards [buy]

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SXSeattle Send-off at the Tractor Tavern

March 6, 2009

hymns

Even if you can’t make it to Austin this year, you get an excellent side benefit – the SXSeattle Sendoff show at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. The lineup includes z=z faves New Faces and Hey Marseilles, together with Battle Hymns (pictured), the new band of Cameron Elliott, formerly of the Western States. I’m really looking forward to hearing their Silver Jews-esque Americana live. Headlining are Champagne Champagne, who I didn’t really think were my speed, but I’ve only heard great things about their live show (like this Seattle Subsonic review). Top to bottom, it’s a great lineup and well worth checking out on a Friday night. Doors at nine, and a very modest $8 cover, which will help keep the bands in gas and tacos.

MP3: Battle Hymns – For Arlene (on Memantine)

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This weekend in Seattle: z=z recos

February 19, 2009


[embedded YouTube video; if you can't watch it, click here]

Some recommendations for this weekend in Seattle (which hasn’t been getting much z=z love recently):

Thursday, February 19th: Our new favourite local band, Hey Marseilles, has its first headlining show at Neumo’s. Doors at 7 pm. Check out the video above for a taste of their live show.

Friday, February 20th: This month’s Broken Disco, a monthly show by a collective of local electronica collectives, is the third Friday of the month at Chop Suey.  This month features a DJ set by Jona (Berlin; Get Physical) and a live set by Nutownproject (Berlin; Recode/Immigrant). Doors at 9; $10 cover before 10 pm.

Saturday, February 21st: Get your evening started at the Three Imaginary Girls‘  listening party for Dark Was The Night (which is terrific, incidentally). It’s at Moe Bar, from 7 to 9 pm. Then mosey next door for the AC Newman show at Neumo’s.

MP3: AC Newman – There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve [buy]

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Roundup: Neko Case, Crocodile, Blogger, more

February 18, 2009

neko-case[photo: Jason Creps/NY Times]

A round-up of a few items that are either new or that I haven’t had a chance to post:

A long profile of Neko Case in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. The best part, for those of us obsessed with infographics, is this interactive map with samples of her solo music and work with The New Pornographers, The Corn Sisters, and more.

If you’re interested in the direction that music and the music industry is going, and you’re not already reading it, I highly recommend Music Think Tank. The postings are typically thought-provoking and knowledgeable.

Speaking of music blogs, Boston’s own Ryan Spaulding, of Ryan’s Smashing Life, was interviewed for this LA Weekly article about disappearing posts on music blogs hosted by Blogger. It’s certainly starting to look like Google (who acquired Blogger in 2003) might be violating its ‘don’t be evil‘ policy by eschewing takedown notices in lieu of simply deleting posts without warning. Ryan makes a  morally compelling argument: “By pulling down my post, they destroyed my intellectual creativity, the very same thing they’re erroneously accusing me of doing.” (‘erroneously,’ because, like many music bloggers, he is posting MP3s at the behest of the same record companies who are presumably putting pressure on Blogger to remove posts). You can read Ryan’s own post on the topic here.

There’s an amusing posting at Panopticist about Andrew Hearst’s experience purchasing AC/DC tickets from scalpers, and the role of typography and design in differentiating between real and counterfeit tickets. [thanks, Clive!]

Finally, Seattle’s Crocodile has a website! We posted previously about its imminent re-opening, and the first listed show is Hot Buttered Rum on March 21st. The calendar page is lovely, utilizing ‘concert posters’ rather than simple lists. [via Seattle Subsonic]

MP3: AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long [buy]

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Benefit concert: Factory Records tribute

February 13, 2009

joy-division-graffito

In keeping with my current trend of not being in the same city as the shows that I want to see, what I would be doing if I was in Seattle on Saturday night is going to this show. Chop Suey is hosting “Dancing on the Valentine,” a benefit for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and it’s a tribute to Factory Records. So go watch 24 Hour Party People, dig out your t-shirt with the radiofrequency pulses or the yellow happy faces (as appropriate), and channel the spirit of Tony Wilson. And then go to Chop Suey on Saturday night.

Lineup: Peter Parker, Hotels, Police Teeth, Haunted Horse, Leaders of Men, Motorik, This is Friendly Fires, Funkscribe, Atticus & the Arteries

(to be perfectly fair, part of the reason I won’t be in Seattle is because I’ll be going to this show)

MP3: Hot Chip – Transmission (Joy Division cover) [buy]

Image: Holy Mother of F*ck I Love Joy Division! by Flickr user dullhunk, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.

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Listen local: The Crocodile Cafe returns!

January 20, 2009

071217_crocodile_cafe

Word on the street (well, actually, in the coffee shop) is that the Seattle’s famed Crocodile Cafe, which closed abruptly nearly a year ago, is on track to re-open. While the Croc is still pretty mum and the website is still under construction, The Ting Tings are scheduled to play on April 12th. zed equals zee didn’t relocate to Seattle until after it closed, so I am really looking forward to checking it out.

(thanks to Peter for the tip!)

MP3: The Ting Tings – Great DJ

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Listen local: Hey Marseilles

January 19, 2009

hey-marseilles-2

Hey Marseilles nearly made me miss a flight. I saw them at the Three Imaginary Girls holiday party, and they were so good that I decided to catch their headlining show at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard last week, even though I had a 4:45 am wake-up call for a 5:15 am cab to the airport the next morning. Unfortunately, the late night meant that I slept through my alarm and only woke up when the cabdriver called my landline.

It was totally worth it, though. The Tractor show started with a procession by the band through the crowd, and I do mean ‘procession’ – with seven members, the band is quite a crowd themselves. Matt Bishop’s appealing voice is backed by viola, cello, trumpet and accordion, in addition to the more conventional rock instruments. They sound like a rather less fey version of The Decemberists – more grounded and earthy.

myspace website

MP3: Hey Marseilles – Rio

Image: Hey Marseilles by Flickr user Tyson L, reposted here with permission.

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Upcoming: microDecibel Festival

December 30, 2008

Alex Smoke

The Decibel Festival is hosting a two-night end-of-year blowout at Neumo’s in Seattle. Night one, on Tuesday, December 30th, is “Best of Bass,” with variants of house, in the persons of Jesse Rose and Kilowatts, at the top of the bill. Night two, the 31st, is “Dirty Dancing: NYE” and focuses on techno, with live performances from John Tejada, Alex Smoke [pictured above], and more. I saw Alex Smoke in late 2007, and he was phenomenal – definitely one of the best performances that I saw that year.

Full details on udB can be found at the Decibel Festival Myspace page, and a Stranger article is here.

Image: Alex Smoke by Flickr user couchetard, reposted here with permission.

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Working on Christmas

December 24, 2008

work-on-christmas

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m in my office, even though I probably shouldn’t be, so I can use my printer and my big monitor. I actually find it kind of amusing to send out letters time-stamped on Christmas Eve – doing my bit to remind people that our culture is pluralistic, not a monolith. But I know that working on Christmas, for many people, is not voluntary. I’m streaming KEXP and they just played this  Seattle-centric song by Harvey Danger. Even for an occasionally snarky non-Christmas celebrant, it captures some of the melancholy of working on the holiday.

This song is for my friends Erich, Scott and Ken, none of whom could go home to see their families because they had to work around Christmas.

MP3: Harvey Danger – Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas [amazon]

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In the bleak midwinter

December 22, 2008

"Snowy" by g93dotnet

I’m not normally about holiday music. But both Seattle and Boston just celebrated the winter solstice by getting positively hammered with snow, and that made me think of this Pipettes version of “In The Bleak Midwinter.” It’s always kind of tickled me because it’s up there with ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?‘ as an egregious example of seeing the world through cultural blinders – I mean really, Ms. Rossetti –  I don’t think midwinter in Bethlehem is exactly characterized by “…water like a stone/snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.”

Having said all that, the Holst tune is lovely, and I have a soft spot for this version.

MP3: The Pipettes – In the Bleak Midwinter

Image: Snowy by Flickr user g93dotnet, reposted here with permission.

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Listen local: The Cripples

December 2, 2008

cripples

Nothing is forgotten on the Internet. A friend of mine turned me on to Seattle-based synth-punk band, The Cripples, that were around a few years ago when he lived here. As far as I can tell, they are defunct-ish (the most recent update on either their homepage or Myspace page seems to be 2005), and I can’t really find any evidence that they’re doing shows. And while I think the picture above is of them (I ganked it from their site, after all), it does seem little short on synths for a synth-punk group.

None of this changes the fact that they sound really cool, like the Buzzcocks, only with keyboards. And it begs the question – why aren’t there more synth-punk bands? But if anyone in the area knows if The Cripples are still doing gigs, or if the principals have moved on to other bands, feel free to share it in the comments.

MP3: The Cripples – Contraception

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Listen local: Head Like a Kite

November 21, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can't see it, click here]

Seattle’s Head Like a Kite have been getting all kinds of buzz, including getting picked up for MTV2’s ‘On the Rise‘ series, and they actually deserve it. Their music, which mixes samples, fuzzed-out guitars, electronics, and indie-pop hooks, is that rarest of beasts – tunes for both your butt and your brain. Layered, sophisticated and thoughtful enough that you can lie quietly and listen to it in your headphones, but with enough immediate appeal and a solid enough groove that you can just get up and dance. If you need more details, I’m going to refer you to the terrific review of their latest album, There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere, at Three Imaginary Girls.

Head Like a Kite are playing on Saturday, November 22 at Neumo’s in Seattle, along with Truckasaurus and Slender Means.

website myspace

MP3Head Like a Kite – We Were So Entangled (buy)

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