Spin the Black Circle

Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Listen to the Foo Fighters new single

February 24th, 2011 by travis hay

Rope by Foo Fighters

And the marketing push around the upcoming Foo Fighters record continues …

First there were the surprise shows where the band played the entire record in its entirety. (Sorry about the Seattle show false alarm)

Then there was the video for “White Limo” featuring Lemmy.

Today comes the release of the first Foo Fighters radio single from the album, “Rope,” which you can listen to above. Rolling Stone calls the song “a hairy-testicled, devil-dicked atomic beast,” which is hilarious hyperbole at its finest.

The new record, Wasting Light, will be released April 12.


Six artists the Seattle Rock Orchestra should tribute

February 24th, 2011 by travis hay

The Seattle Rock Orchestra has successfully tackled Radiohead, Arcade Fire, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, David Bowie and their next tribute will be Queen in May. So whose music should they take on next?

Here are a few ideas: Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Rock Orchestra does Radiohead right

February 24th, 2011 by travis hay

Seattle Rock Orchestra’s take on The Bends and Kid A Saturday night could have been a disastrous experiment.

The sacred cow that is Radiohead being interpreted by an orchestra of 50+ combined with a 20-person choir, six-piece backing band and eight different vocalists playing the role of Thom Yorke seems like a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, to borrow a phrase from the Radiohead catalog, everything was in its right place at the Moore Theatre during the two-hour performance.

The formula for the evening involved the vocalists — Kaylee Cole, Rachel Flotard, Jon Auer, John Van Deusen, Michele Khazak, Noah Gunderson, Jim Antonio and Tom Beecham — each taking three-song chunks of tracks from either OK Computer or The Bends. There were several standout vocal deliveries and it seems unfair to single out specific vocalists because all did quite an admirable job, but the ones that stood out the most were Gunderson’s “Electioneering,” Cole’s “Paranoid Android,” Flotard’s “Street Spirit” and all three of Van Deusen’s songs. Khazak also made quite the impression by lending her bold vocals to “Lukcy” and “The Tourist.” Read the rest of this entry »


Mad Rad, Truckasauras to celebrate Noise for the Needy

February 24th, 2011 by travis hay

Noise for the Needy, the annual string of shows set up to benefit a local non-profit organization, is having a party March 10 at Neumos (9 p.m., $10) and at the event the beneficiary for this year’s Noise for the Needy will be announced.

Taking part in the Shinjuku-themed event (more on that in a minute) will be Junkie XL, Truckasauras and Mad Rad. Hey, if you’re going to have a party why not invite the city’s best party rap group to perform?

Now about that Shinjuku stuff. Shinjuku is a graphic novel by Mink, a L.A.-based writer who is a NFTN supporter. Mink wanted to do something in Seattle to support NFTN so the idea for a Shinjuku-themed show was hatched. I haven’t read the book but I am told as part of the festivities Neumos will be transformed into the club Poppies, which plays a prominent role in Shinjuku and that there will be wall projections, costumed character models, contests and more. It will definitely be an interesting and unique way to kick off this year’s Noise for the Needy Festivities


Grynch to release ‘Timeless’ EP March 8

February 24th, 2011 by travis hay

Grynch, the pint-sized King of Ballard, will release the official follow-up to 2009′s Chemistry EP on March 8.

The release, which will be another EP, is titled Timeless and will feature Sabzi’s remix of Grynch’s breakthrough hit “My Volvo,” a song Grynch will likely never escape. You can listen to the title track off the release over at DJ Booth and you can download the Sabzi remix of “My Volvo” over here for free.


Lou Barlow revisits Sebadoh’s past and talks about its future

February 11th, 2011 by travis hay

As one-third of Dinosaur Jr and one-third of Sebadoh Lou Barlow is an indie rock icon, with an emphasis on the rock.

He helped forge one of the greatest guitar-driven indie bands of the Alternative Nation, and then after leaving Dinosaur Jr due to tensions with Dinosaur songwriter J Mascis he continued his career with Sebadoh and created a string of influential cult albums in III, Bakesale and Harmacy.  The latter two albums are getting the deluxe reissue treatment starting with Bakesale on April 4. The album will contain 25 bonus tracks and Sebadoh is launching a tour, which lands at Neumos Saturday night ($15, 9 p.m.), to support the release.

“I had a really good time making that record. It was a good time for me personally,” Barlow said about Bakesale during a phone interview from his California home. “The songs are really airtight. They are perfectly short and I was really in a good spot writing lyrics. It was a very, very direct writing process and I can hear that when I listen to that album.”

Harmcy on the other hand is a bit of a different story for Barlow. The record continues the classic Sebadoh lo-fi sound and is still considered one of the band’s best records by fans but the tumultuous circumstances surrounding its release after Bakesale’s success impacted Barlow. Read the rest of this entry »


First listen: Soundgarden’s ‘Live on I5′

February 9th, 2011 by travis hay

I received an advance copy of Soundgarden’s first live album, Live on I5, today and it is currently playing on my iTunes as I type.

So how does this compilation of live recordings from the band’s 1996 West Coast tour sound? On first listen it sounds pretty dang good. I’ll write a full review of the record as it gets closer to the album’s March 22 release date.

For now here are a few observations about the record:

Read the rest of this entry »


First listen: Foo Fighters’ new album

February 9th, 2011 by travis hay

Sasquatch! headliners Foo Fighters have been playing their yet-to-be-titled new album in its entirety during a few surprise shows in the Los Angeles area (sorry about the false alarm for a Seattle show btw). The record is set to come out April 12 but if you want to give it a preview the folks over at Consequence of Sound have pieced together video clips of every song from the album being performed live.

So here they are: Read the rest of this entry »


Afterthoughts on the Sasquatch! 2011 lineup

February 7th, 2011 by travis hay

Sasquatch 2011 Lineup from World Famous on Vimeo.

The lineup for the 2011 Sasquatch! Music Festival has finally been announced and I’m not sure how I feel about the names on the list of bands that are coming to the Gorge. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

It’s no secret that I’m a Sasquatch! fanboy. I actually consider myself the festival’s ultimate fan and its biggest critic. Sasquatch! combines one of my favorite places (the Gorge Amphitheatre) with one of my favorite things (music festivals) and I’m the only person I know — aside from Adam Zacks, who I met for the first time last night — who has been to every Sasquatch!. So you can imagine that I had pretty high hopes for what last night’s lineup announcement would hold and while I am disappointed at the lack of starpower on the bill, I will say I am very impressed with the talent coming to eastern Washington Memorial Day weekend.

For Sasquatch!’s tenth year Adam Zacks definitely followed last year’s formula of booking a full day’s worth of solid bands without banking on big-name headliners to sell tickets. It’s a smart move and it will likely pay off in the form of the festival’s first four-day sellout. The lineup’s established acts read like a greatest hits of Sasquatch!’s past (Rodrigo y Gabriella, Cold War Kids, the Thermals). There are plenty of locals who aren’t big names that are going to get some great exposure (Macklemore, Young Evils, The Globes), a few reunion acts (DFA 1979, Archers of Loaf) and plenty of up-and-coming acts (Beach House, Wavves, Sleigh Bells, Twin Shadow). This combination of acts gives the lineup a feeling of familiarity, excitement and discovery and makes the festival an excellent gateway drug for being turned on to new music. Read the rest of this entry »


Soundgarden to release ‘Live on I5″ March 22

February 4th, 2011 by travis hay

Photo by Danny Clink

Soundgarden will release its first live album, titled “Live on I5,” March 22.

The 17-track record features recordings of songs from the band’s 1996 West Coast tour. The tracklist includes four songs from the band’s Dec.  18, 1996 Mercer Arena show in Seattle as well as Chris Cornell performing “Black Hole Sun” solo and covers of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and the Stooges “Search & Destroy.”

The tour was the first time the band recorded its live shows and the band rented a mobile 24-track machine/truck and recorded the gigs on two-inch tape. The band had intended to release the recordings as a live record soon after the tour, but they disbanded and the tapes were left in the closet of Studio X in Seattle (now called Bad Animals) to gather dust until now.

The band has had little activity since reuniting in 2010, playing only three reunion concerts and releasing a greatest-hits boxed set that included only one previously unreleased studio recording. Live on I5 looks to be a worthwhile purchase for anyone looking to add to their Soundgarden collection, however it is disappointing that something like this wasn’t included in the Telephantasm box set since it was meant to be a career-spanning retrospective and a live album would’ve given fans who already own all of Soundgarden’s recordings a reason to drop money on the release. There is no word on whether the band plans to tour in 2011.

Live on I5 tracklist: Read the rest of this entry »


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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.