Monthly Archives: January 2010

Top 29 of 2009 continued: The top 10 local albums of 09

Last year saw some amazing music sprout from the rain-fed soil of the local music community. A few weeks ago I started to share my favorite records of the year with the beginning of my Top 29 local records of 2009. Here is the continuation of that list and you’ll notice it contains quite a few debut albums which hopefully means the local musical landscape has a very fertile future ahead of itself.

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From Crosscut: Looking back at 2009 and looking forward to 2010

I wrote the below article for Crosscut. It was posted there earlier this morning.You can read the entire article by clicking here

The Year of the Ox brought plenty of good tidings to the local music scene. Here is a look back at some of the highlights of the year that was and a look forward so you know what to expect in 2010.

An early story from last year was the resurrection of the Crocodile Café. The beloved Belltown venue received a massive facelift, dropped the café and became simply The Crocodile. While it doesn’t have the same worn-in club feel it used to boast, it is a much better room for music and it’s great to have the Croc back in the scene after a year of shuttered doors.

Some of the city’s biggest musical exports made musical waves in 2009. Pearl Jam landed a No. 1 record with Backspacer, its best record in more than a decade. Alice in Chains reunited with new singer William Duvall to release Black Gives Way to Blue, an album whose title track features Elton John. Both bands received Grammy nods for their efforts. Meanwhile, Nirvana managed to move units too with Sub Pop’s remastered reissue of Bleach and the DVD/CD combo of the band’s 1992 Reading Festival set.

Also on the grunge note, the Crocodile hosted a show in March at which Tad Doyle, formerly of grunge heavyweights TAD, played a three-song set of Soundgarden songs with every member of Soundgarden except for Chris Cornell. This immediately flamed Soundgarden reunion rumors, now confirmed.

Last year the Sasquatch! Music Festival added a comedy and dance tent that was a big success. This year the festival’s promoters snagged a big fish for a headliner in the form of reunited influential indie rockers Pavement. No other acts have been announced for the three-day fest (the full lineup will drop Feb. 16) but I recommend getting your tickets early for this Memorial Day Weekend event because Sasquatch! will sell out.

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NIN fans give ‘Gift’ to themselves

In case you weren’t paying attention over the past few years, Nine Inch Nails have been doing some pretty cool stuff for their fans and good ol Trent Reznor has been at the forefront of it all. From giving away an album, to creating a great iPhone app, to allowing open video and audio recording at shows, NIN is giving back to its fans and now the fans are giving back to, um, the fans.

Today the band revealed a free, fan-produced, full-length concert DVD/Blu-Ray download called Another Version of the Truth: The Gift.. The footage was taken from the band’s 2008 Lights in the Sky tour stops in Portland, Victoria and Sacramento. Here’s the “March of the Pigs” clip from Another Version of the Truth: The Gift with words from the NIN site about the project below. You can watch the entire film on YouTube, or download it here.


“Our 2008 Lights In The Sky tour was an ambitious multimedia production on a scale well beyond anything we’d ever attempted before. Everyone involved was extremely proud of how it came together, and we were devastated when, for a variety of reasons, we were unable to capture it professionally for a theatrical or commercial release. As a “plan B” of sorts, early last year we released a massive 405gb free download of raw HD footage captured at three different shows during the tour. The idea was to get the footage out in the wild and see what our notoriously enterprising fans could do with it. There were no rules. No strings attached. This was a gift, and an experiment, and for the past year we’ve watched it come to life in more ways than we could have ever imagined.

Fans have edited thousands of videos from the footage, assembled their own DVDs and live albums, even held theatrical screenings of their creations. And now, the ambitious and well-organized group known as This One Is On Us have released their massive, highly-anticipated creation, Another Version of the Truth: The Gift.

For 12 months, a core team of dozens of fans and a network of thousands spanning the entire globe pooled their efforts to create this professional-quality 1080p 5.1 concert film, and have released it in every format from Blu-ray and DVD to iPod and YouTube. It combines footage from all three shows and includes DVD menus, bonus footage, a PDF booklet, and more. That something of this scale was produced entirely by fans, on their own time, purely for the sake of giving something back to the community, is absolutely unprecedented. You can read all about the project and find all the download links here, or watch it immediately on YouTube here. Theatrical screenings are already being organized, you can find more info about those here.

This is yet another example of a devoted fanbase and a policy of openness combining to fill in blanks left by old media barriers. The entire NIN camp is absolutely thrilled that treating our fans with respect and nurturing their creativity has led to such an overwhelming outpour of incredible content, and that we now have such a high quality souvenir from our most ambitious tour ever. Or, as Trent simply put it, “Nine Inch Nails fans kick ass.””

Maldives, Hey Marseilles, Gabe Teodros, celebrate McGinn w/free concert

Newly inaugurated Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is celebrating his inauguration this week with a free concert at Showbox SoDo Saturday that features some of the city’s brightest stars.

The concert, which starts at 7:30, includes the DJing talents of WD4D, the international hip hop of Gabriel Teodros, the orchestral indie pop of Hey Marseilles and the country fun of The Maldvies. And the best part is that all of this is FREE! So I’ll be seeing you at Showbox SoDo Saturday night.

Stream Pearl Jam’s famous 1994 Atlanta concert

Do you remember the first time you heard Pearl Jam’s 1994 concert from Atlanta’s Fox Theatre?

I do. I was sitting in my bedroom in my old hood of Shoreline with my ears attentively peeled to KNDD during a Monkeywrench Radio. If you’re not familiar with Monkeywrench Radio, it was an event when Pearl Jam would take over the airwaves of radio stations nationwide and broadcast various b-sides, live cuts and in-studio performances. This was before the Internet hit the mainstream (yes kids, there was such a time) so it was a pretty big deal for a band to do something like that back in the day. Anyway, I’m pretty sure the band played all of the Fox Theatre show during one of those broadcasts. Or at least I think they did. Correct me if I’m wrong Ten Clubbers.

Now you can listen to one of the more storied early Pearl Jam concerts anytime you like over at Wolfgang’s Vault where it is streaming for free. Hopefully the site will add more vintage PJ sets to its amazing catalog.

My 25 favorite photos from 2009

I had the fortune of working with several wonderful photographers this year over at Ear Candy. Each perfectly captured the essence of live music with a camera and I greatly enjoy spotlighting their amazing talents. There were so many awesome shots featured on Ear Candy this year it made it tough to narrow down a list of my favorites, but here are 25 of my favorite shots from 2009. If you like what you see, you can check out more of Ear Candy’s photos from 2009 over on the site’s Flickr page.

Sleepy Eyes of Death @ CHBP :: by Brittney Bush Bollay
A powerfully dark and heavy band deserves a powerfully dark and heavy photo and that is
exactly what Brittney delivers here. CHBP COVERAGE

The Redwood Plan @ Sunset Tavern :: by Travis Hay
I love Lesli Wood’s flying red hair combined with the sunburst color of her guitar.

Green Day @ KeyArena :: by Steven Friederich
Billie Joe Armstrong seems to be declaring his dominance over the crowd and
from the looks of it, the crowd is loving being dominated. MORE GREEN DAY PHOTOS

Joey Santiago :: by Dave Lichterman
The quiet backbone of The Pixies gets his due in the silhouetted spotlight. SHOW REVIEW

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My 10 favorite concerts of 2009

I spent a lot of my time this year in Seattle’s various clubs, bars and concert venues where I enjoyed an amazing amount of live music. Here are 10 of my favorite shows from 2009 in no particular order.

TADgarden :: by Travis Hay

TADgarden at the Crocodile

It was a Tom Morello musical variety show that featured Steve Earle, Blue Scholars, Mark Arm, Boots Riley, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepard and a few others. The addition of Thayil and Shepard made me think Matt Cameron might be in the building and he was, along with one of the biggest grunge badasses around, Tad Doyle. When Doyle joined the three-fourths of Soundgarden for a three-song set it made for quite a memorable post-grunge moment in Seattle’s music history. Also, I think the show was held during either the third or fourth night of the new Crocodile’s existence. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate rock ‘n’ roll way to christen the new(ish) club.

Pearl Jam at KeyArena

Pearl Jam made its comeback to modern rock relevancy in 2009 and its brief fall tour kicked off at home with two shows at the Key. The first night was good, combining classics with Backspacer tunes, but it was the second night complete with its customized “Supersonic” lyrics which took on the loss of the Supersonics that provided a truly transcendent concert experience.

Ra Scion :: by Travis Hay

Common Market at Bumbershoot

Part performance art, part hip hop show, this set could have gone off very cheesily and been extremely laughable. Instead it was an artistic statement that commented on the working man’s blues filled with facepaint, props and dancers while Ra Scion spit rhymes over the soundscapes provided by a band (that included a horn section!) and his DJ. An extra touching ballet performance over the instrumental “The Picture of My DeLorean Gray” by Ra Scion’s daughter closed one of the most memorable hip hop sets I saw this year.

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The top 29 local records of 2009 (part 1)

So much quality music has come from Emerald City artists this year that it makes me burst with pride to be able to call Seattle home. I nearly explode with joy every time I have the privilege to write about all the amazing local music that’s out there for your ears to enjoy. Seriously Seattle, you’re spoiled.

The output of awesome albums was so great in 2009 that it was impossible for me to limit my list to a mere 10 favorites, so below you’ll find the first part of my 29 favorites from 2009. Most of these records are from artists I write about often but a few of these gems haven’t been the recipients of digital ink here so I hope I’m turning you on to music you might not listen to otherwise.

Before you go debating the merits of my list keep in mind that I didn’t listen to every amazing local album released this year. There are lots of records from the final year of this decade that I’m told are excellent that I didn’t have the opportunity to purchase (Tea Cozies, Shabazz Palaces, Khingz, Dutchess & The Duke, just to name a few). If I had given them a listen I am sure they would have made making this list a lot more difficult than it was and my wallet a lot lighter than it is now. Here are numbers 29 through 11 on my list. I will post my top 10 local releases of the year soon.

29. The Lonely Forest We Sing The Body Electric
This Anacortes outfit was one of the most heavily hyped groups of the year and they proved worthy of the hype with this record full of pretty pop-rock tunes.

28. The Physics High Society
This free EP is filled with grooves that are as perfect for a backyard barbecue as they are blaring at a club.

27. Curtains For You What A Lovely Surprise to Wake Up Here
It’s pretty cliché to say a band sounds like The Beatles, but this beautifully blissful album merits every comparison to John, Paul, George and Ringo heaped upon it.

26. The Purrs
Amused, Confused & More Bad News
The British Invasion comes to Seattle with this psychedelic romp of a record.

25. Star Anna The Only Thing That Matters
Ellensburg’s finest comes to full maturation on a record that showcases her powerful pipes as much as it does her band, The Laughing Dogs.
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Soundgarden reunites, ruins my prediction column

That’s the question I asked myself when I heard the news of the Soundgarden reunion. It was announced Dec. 31 by Cornell via Twitter.

You see, on Dec. 30 I wrote a predictions column for Crosscut letting its readers know what to expect from the local music scene in 2010. The column, which has yet to be posted, included my prediction that Soundgarden would reunite. Now it was no stretch to assume such a thing was going to happen, but I find it to be almost too coincidental that Cornell dropped the news of the reunion hours after I filed my column with Crosscut.

When the reunion was announced I sent an e-mail to my editor and the Nostradamus-esque paragraph I wrote predicting a Soundgarden reunion was taken out of my predictions column and it was turned into this blog post in which I share my thoughts on the reunion and I play Nostradamus again, this time hopefully predicting a Monsters of Grunge triple-bill of Soungarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam at Bumbershoot 2010 (hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?).

I will post some of the column here once it gets posted over on Crosscut, until then here is what I wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 in regards to what was then the possibility of a Soundgarden reunion. And if you’re looking at this Chris Cornell, yes I did share my thoughts of an AIC, SG, PJ show in hopes that you were reading.

“Also on the grunge note, the Crocodile hosted a show in March where Tad Doyle, formerly of grunge heavyweights TAD, played a three-song set of Soundgarden songs with every member of Soundgarden except for Chris Cornell. This immediately flamed Soundgarden reunion rumors and while Krist Novaselic shot down the rumors of the band headlining Coachella 2010 (for the record, I believe him), a reunion could still happen. Why? Because Cornell’s last few albums tanked and all four band members were spotted hanging out together (this time it wasn’t at a Cinnabon). Also, as we all know money talks and if the price was right I’m sure Soundgarden would reunite (even though in 2005 Cornell told me a reunion wasn’t likely). The only reason I see it not happening this year is due to drummer’s Matt Cameron’s current Pearl Jam commitments.”