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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.
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Archive for February, 2010

Music Monday: Free albums from Billy the Fridge and No-Fi Soul Rebellion

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

This week’s Music Monday brings you two free albums from local artists.

First up is a record by the biggest (literally) rapper in Seattle, Billy the Fridge.You might not have heard of Billy or ever listened to his music, but chances are once you hear the Top Pot Champion and his larger-than-life rap persona you’ll likely remember Billy the Fridge for a while. You can download his album Million Dollar Fantasy Freak Show for free by clicking here. The entire record is a fun listen but I recommend checking out the Star Wars spoof  “A New Hope” and “Lusty Lady,” which is about Seattle’s favorite peep-show spot.

The husband-wife duo of Mark and Andrea Heimer, aka No-Fi Soul Rebellion, are known for their active live shows and what better way to document their dance-friendly rock shows than with a live album? That’s just what the group did in 2006 with the release of Afterglow. You can download the record here for free to whet your appetite for the excitement and spontaneity of the experience that is No-Fi in concert. Speaking of No-Fi and  their “soul system,” I’m pleased to report the next time the Bellingham couple will be performing in the Emerald City will be at Nectar Lounge March 14 for the second night of Ear Candy’s Birthday Bash 2010. More details on that show to come soon, for now download Afterglow and start memorizing the tunes and working on your dance moves.


Cool show alert: The Neil and the Damage Done, a Neil Young tribute night, at the Crocodile Apriil 1

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Neil Young is rock ‘n’ roll icon and on April 1 several local musicians will be paying tribute to the man who is perhaps the greatest Canadian musical export ever (sorry Bryan Adams) at the Crocodile as part of The Neil and the Damage Done.

Truckasaurus, Spanish for 100, See Me River and Feral Children are a few of the locals on the bill. I’m particularly excited to hear what Spanish for 100 has up their sleeve in regards to a Neil Young cover. Maybe if I ask them nicely they will give one of their Neil Young covers a test run at their next local show, which happens to be the first night of Ear Candy’s Birthday Bash 2010 on March 13 at the Sunset Tavern.

Headlining the show is the My My Hey Heys, a group consisting of Mike Spine (At the Spine, Global Seepej Records, etc) on guitar and vocals, Swiss/Argentinean guitarist Martin Flowers, drummer Jeff Gall (Annunaki), and Aaron Semer (The Plains) on bass and backing vocals. The band was formed last year during the first Neil Young Tribute night, which was held at the Tractor Tavern. According to a press release, the My My Hey Heys play “vintage, edgy, and generally more concise interpretations of Crazy Horse-era Neil Young songs.” The full lineup and ticket info is posted after the jump.

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Idiot Pilot paving a comeback trail

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Note: An earlier version of this post contained incorrect information regarding the band’s situation before siging to Reprise Records. It has since been corrected.

Idiot Pilot, the noise-rock duo from Bellingham that relies on heavy usage of a laptop and guitars, is making a comeback with a new website a slot at SXSW and possibly some new material later this year.

The band’s career got off to a pretty hot start thanks to a third-place finish at EMP’s Sound Off! in 2004 (The Lonely H finished second and Mon Frere took home top prize that year). After the success they were courted by a few labels and eventually signed to Reprise Records, which is owned by Warner Bros. The scuttlebutt at the time was the group ruffled some feathers locally by signing with a major because they were more or less signed to a local indie label prior to entering talks with Reprise, but before they inked the deal they were sneakily shuttled to LA where Reprise’s A&R vultures claimed Idiot Pilot for their own.

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From Crosscut: Finally a Hard Rock for Vedder, Cobain, Hendrix and others

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I wrote the below article for Crosscut. You can click here to view the entire article.

Location, location, location. That is one of the many selling points of Seattle’s Hard Rock Cafe, which opened its doors to the public last Wednesday and is looking to make its mark on the local music scene.

The two-story, 14,000-square-foot restaurant’s prime real estate at the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street will likely attract heavy foot traffic from tourists and locals alike. Inside, Hard Rock’s hip and modern atmosphere will give diners plenty of eye candy to enjoy in the form of local music memorabilia from Hard Rock’s collection — including guitars owned by Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, hand-written notes from Courtney Love and Quincy Jones, and more.

If it’s grunge you’re looking for then the first floor of Hard Rock Seattle is where you’ll want to eat. Local icons ranging from Mother Love Bone’s Andy Wood to the Presidents of the United States of America have guitars on the walls and interesting items like the topper of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain’s wedding cake make for a uniquely Seattle dining experience. The decision to focus the Hard Rock on more recent music history as opposed to The Sonics or Hendrix (Hendrix is represented upstairs, the Sonics are absent) was wise as it adds to the restaurant’s cool, modern vibe.

Keeping with the modern theme, the Emerald City version of the worldwide restaurant chain is as much a shrine to technology as it is a shrine to rock ’n’ roll. Upon entering the restaurant, patrons will undoubtedly notice the Rock Wall Solo, an interactive touch-screen wall where visitors can search and view memorabilia from Hard Rock’s collection. The booths on the first floor also have touch-screen displays where patrons can vote for what to play on the jukebox and virtually browse items from the Hard Rock’s collection.

Want to read John Lennon’s hand-written lyrics to “Imagine” while waiting for your drinks? You can do that. How about checking out some Hammer pants worn by MC Hammer during the video shoot for “Dancing Machine”? That’s in the system too. More than 1,500 items from Hard Rock’s collection have been digitally scanned into the virtual units. According to Joe Tenczar, Hard Rock’s CIO, Hard Rock has the world’s largest collection of rock memorabilia, with more than 72,000 pieces. Tenczar said more items could be added to Seattle’s virtual catalog once they are scanned into the system.

“The goal is to make it a fun, interactive experience for music fans,” he said. “We want to have more than food and drinks, we want people to have fun and walk away having had an experience to go along with their meal.”

Adding to the interactivity is a phone tour, which allows diners to call a number (206-204-4666) and enter a code next to an item to learn more about the piece. I recommend #55, which describes hand-written notes taped to an Eddie Vedder acoustic guitar.

While Hard Rock Seattle isn’t claiming to be a historical chronicler of the local music scene, there are several key players from the past couple of decades missing from the restaurant’s representation. Elliott Smith, Mudhoney, Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie are a few of the notable omissions.

*** Hard Rock Seattle photo by Mat Hayward


Sasquatch! 2010 day-by-day lineup

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I don’t want this site to be all Sasquatch! all the time, but the day-by-day lineup for Sasquatch! 2010 was revealed last night and it’s pretty interesting.

First thing I notice is that Ween is headlining one night of the festival. I know nothing about Ween so I am especially intrigued by this headliner selection. Oh wait, I know one thing about Ween. They have very passionate fans. Case and point, I wrote a pretty decent and favorable analysis of the Sasquatch! lineup and commenters over at the other Ear Candy (who are presumably Ween fans) got fussy because I didn’t mention Ween. This makes me really curious to find out what Ween is all about.

Other interesting observations of the lineup include some of the stage placements. There isn’t a lot happening on the Yeti stage right now and that’s likely because the Yeti stage typically features mostly local acts and not many smaller local bands have been announced as a part of the lineup as of today. But I did notice The Hold Steady and Public Enemy are both on the Wookie stage the same day. I hope The Hold Steady gets the slot before a Public Enemy stage-headlining slot because I’d hate to have to choose between Craig Finn on one stage and Jim James  on another stage at the same time (sorry Jim, you lose).

Here’s the day-by-day lineup (bolded are acts I’m really looking forward to seeing at the Gorge):

Saturday, May 29th

My Morning Jacket / Vampire Weekend / The National / Deadmau5 / Broken Social Scene / OK Go / Wale / Public Enemy / The Hold Steady / Miike Snow / Z-Trip / Brother Ali / Minus The Bear / WHY? / The Very Best / Portugal. The Man / Mumford & Sons / The Lonely Forest / Nurses / The Middle East / Patrick Watson / Morning Teleportation / Laura Marling / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros / Fool’s Gold / Garfunkel & Oates / Dam-Funk / Shabazz Palaces

Sunday, May 30th

Massive Attack / Pavement / LCD Soundsystem / Tegan and Sara / Kid Cudi / Nada Surf / Dirty Projectors / The xx / The Long Winters / Simian Mobile Disco / Midlake / Girls / Vetiver / The Tallest Man On Earth / YACHT / Booka Shade / Caribou / Avi Buffalo / City and Colour / Cymbals Eat Guitars / A-Trak / Fruit Bats / tUnE-yArDs / Local Natives / Freelance Whales / Jets Overhead / Rob Riggle / Luke Burbank

Monday, May 31st

Ween / MGMT / Band of Horses / She & Him / Passion Pit / The New Pornographers / Drive-By Truckers / Boys Noize / Camera Obscura / The Temper Trap / Dr. Dog / Neon Indian / No Age / The Mountain Goats / Phantogram / Quasi / Japandroids / Mayer Hawthorne & The County / The Low Anthem / Fresh Espresso / Hudson Mohawke / Telekinesis / Past Lives / Yes Giantess / Craig Robinson


Gorge Amphitheatre to get new stage, ‘overhaul’ to front of house

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Earlier today Live Nation announced that there will be some big changes to the Gorge Amphitheatre. Namely the stage and rigging systems are  being replaced with upgraded models. The work is being done by Mountain Productions.

The old stage has been a recognizable part of the unique backdrop at the Gorge for many years,” Danny Wilde, Senior vice president for Live Nation venues in the Pacific Northwest said in a press release. “But the needs of the modern touring production have outgrown the old guy, so it is time to replace it with a new system that will ensure Live Nation is able to continue to bring the biggest and the best touring artists in the world to this unbelievable location.”

Along with replacing the stage, the project also involves improvements to the backstage facilities as well as improvements to the front of the venue. The new stage is the first phase of a “lengthy plan to overhaul the front of the house,” according to Live Nation officials. No futher details about what these improvements involve was provided. I’ve sent an email to Live Nation asking for additional information and I will update this post if I get a response. Pictured above is a new roof for Gorge Amphitehatre stage being installed.


Afterthoughts after the party: Some analysis of Sasquatch! 2010

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The lineup for the 2010 edition of the Sasquatch! Music Festival was announced Monday night during the first Saquatch! Launch Party at the Crocodile.

The show, which was free and featured the Atlas Sound, Fresh Espresso and Surfer Blood, filled the Crocodile to capacity but the music wasn’t what attracted the crowd. The belle of the ball was the unveiling of the Saquatch! lineup which is light on big-name headliners but has lots of heavy-hitters from the indie rock world that will likely help the festival sell out the Gorge for three days this Memorial Day Weekend.

Headliners include Kentucky jam band My Morning Jacket, reunited influential indie rockers Pavement, UK elctro pioneers Massive Attack, the dance-friendly LCD Soundsytem and the heavily buzzed Vampire Weekend and MGMT. Supporting the headliners is a slew of must-see, much lesser-known indie acts. Artists like Freelance Whales, Midlake, Nurses, Local Natives, The Mountain Goats are hardly household names but they do carry massive clout when it comes to indie cred.

Some quick observations about Sasquatch! 2010’s lineup so far:

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The lineup for Sasquatch! 2010 is finally here

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The lineup for the 2010 Sasquatch! Music Festival was revealed Monday night at the Crocodile.  There were lots of surprises along with quite a few obvous names on the list of performers who will be at the Gorge on Memorial Day Weekend. You can compare the actual lineup with my guess at the lineup by clicking here. As expected about half of the artists I thought would be at Sasquatch! actuallyended up on the bill.

My Morning Jacket/Massive Attack/Pavement/Ween/Vampire Weekend/MGMT/Band of Horses/The National/LCD Soundsystem/Tegan & Sara/Broken Social Scene/Passion Pit/Deadmau5/She & Him/Public Enemy/Nada Surf/The New Pornographers/The Hold Steady/The xx/Dirty Projectors/OK Go/Drive By Truckers/Kid Cudi/The Long Winters/Minus the Bear/The Mountain Goats/Quasi/Camera Obscura/Fruit Bats/Brother Ali/Midlake/Dr. Dog/Caribou/Simian Mobile Disco/City & Colour/No Age/The Temper Trap/Vetiver/Miike Snow/Portugal. The Man/Telekinesis/Mayer Hawthorne/Why?/Girls/Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros/Wale/The Lonely Forest/Japandroids/Boys Noize/Yacht/Freelance Whales/Laura Marling/Patrick Watson/Past Lives/Cymbals Eat Guitars/The Low Anthem/The Very Best/Phantogram/Neon Indian/Nurses/The Tallest Man on Earth/Fresh Espresso/Mumford & Sons/Jets Overhead/tUnE-YarDs/Shabazz Palaces/Fool’s Gold/Morning Teleportation/Z-Trip/Dam-Funk/Hudson Mohawke/The Middle East/Local Natives/Avi Buf


So who is going to be at Sasquatch! this year? I have no idea, but here are a few guesses

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Typically by this time each year for the past few years there’s a lot that’s known about the lineup for the annual Sasquatch! Music Festival. As I’ve written about previously, that’s not the case for Sasquatch! 2010. However, fortunately for those of us who are Sasquatch! nuts (like yours truly) the mystery that is the lineup of festival’s ninth installment will be unveiled in less than 24 hours.

Since there is a lot known about this year’s Sasquatch! I haven’t been bugging bands, labels and publicists about the festival in an effort to break the lineup news like I have done in the past. I decided to leave the prediction game to the folks over at the Sasquatch! Message Board and to my buddy Dustin over at his Sasquatch! blog. But a blog with my name on it wouldn’t be the same without me taking some sort of stab at predicting the Sasquatch! lineup so below is my guess at who might be at Sasquatch! 2010.

Before you go getting all excited about my prediction, please keep in mind that this is all one big guess and it’s mostly a wish list of acts I would like to see at the Gorge for Sasquatch! I have no inside knowledge about the festival’s lineup. Really anybody could take wild guesses at predicting the lineup this year and that is just what I did. My guess about my guess is that about half of the 75 acts I listed will actually be at Sasquatch!
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REVIEW: Editors & Princeton @ Showbox at the Market 02.05.10

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The first night of a tour is an important event for a band, especially when you’re a heavily buzzed group from the U.K. playing the first night of you U.S. tour.

If the first night of Editor’s U.S. tour at Showbox at the Market Thursday night is any indication of what to expect from the Staffordshire group, big things are to come from the band many compare to Interpol, a band that ironically hails from New York, not the U.K, despite its name.

The band is touring behind its third full-length record, In This Light and On This Evening, an album with darker tones and more lyrical vulnerability than its previous efforts. The record is a tough pill to swallow for some fans given its moodier and less accessible tone than its counterparts. But anyone with doubts had their apprehensions quickly washed away the minute Editors singer Tom Smith, who at times is a dead vocal ringer for Interpol’s Paul Banks (hence the comparisons), opened his mouth.

Some songs floated through the venue on slow-moving synth lines while others were straight-ahead guitar-rock numbers. A few even felt like powerful 1980s power anthems a la “Feel It (In the Air Tonight).” It was clear Smith and the rest of the band, especially bassist Russell Leetch who at times was hopping and bouncing in time with the notes he was playing, were having a blast. That enthusiasm was contagious as the crowd danced along to the upbeat numbers and seemed to savor every second of the slower songs.

The only minor hiccups came when some of the group’s new material was placed immediately after older songs in the set list. The differences in style and tone between old and new were extremely noticeable live. It was almost like two different bands performing during the same set. Like I said, this was a minor hiccup as typically this sort of thing happens to veteran acts that go through “periods” in their catalogs. But to give you an example of what the differences between old and new felt like during Editors set, imagine Springsteen playing “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and then following it up with “The Rising.” That was sort of what it felt like when “Blood” was followed by “Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool.” But overall, it was an impressive showing from a band you can expect to hear a lot more from in the coming years.

Also on the bill were locals Black Night Crash. Their set of not quite shoegaze and not quite full-on rock showed promise. The band played several new tunes off an upcoming release and much like Editors the new songs were in stark contrast from the group’s older material.

Princeton, a four-piece from Los Angeles featuring twin brothers sharing vocal duties, played a 45-minute set of bland indie-pop prior to Editors set. They sounded like a less polished and less African-influenced Vampire Weekend. While watching their set I sent a tweet asking if anyone knew anything about the band because I had never heard of them before they took the stage. Someone replied that the only reason critics pay attention to Princeton is because they are friends with Ra Ra Riot. After Friday’s show I agree.

The first night of a tour is an important event for a band, especially when you’re a heavily buzzed group from the U.K. playing the first night of you U.S. tour.

If the first night of Editor’s U.S. tour at Showbox at the Market Thursday night is any indication of what to expect from the Staffordshire group, big things are to come from the band many compare to Interpol, a band that ironically hails from New York, not the U.K, despite its name.

The band is touring behind its third full-length record, In This Light and On This Evening, an album with darker tones and more lyrical vulnerability than its previous efforts. The record is a tough pill to swallow for some fans given its moodier and less accessible tone than its counterparts. But anyone with doubts had their apprehensions quickly washed away the minute Editors singer Tom Smith, who at times is a dead vocal ringer for Interpol’s Paul Banks (hence the comparisons), opened his mouth.

Some songs floated through the venue on slow-moving synth lines while others were straight-ahead guitar-rock numbers. A few even felt like powerful 1980s power anthems a la “Feel It (In the Air Tonight).” It was clear Smith and the rest of the band, especially bassist Russell Leetch who at times was hopping and bouncing in time with the notes he was playing, were having a blast. That enthusiasm was contagious as the crowd danced along to the upbeat numbers and seemed to savor every second of the slower songs.

The only minor hiccups came when some of the group’s new material was placed immediately after older songs in the set list. The differences in style and tone between old and new were extremely noticeable live. It was almost like two different bands performing during the same set. Like I said, this was a minor hiccup as typically this sort of thing happens to veteran acts that go through “periods” in their catalogs. But to give you an example of what the differences between old and new felt like during Editors set, imagine Springsteen playing “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and then following it up with “The Rising.” That was sort of what it felt like when “Blood” was followed by “Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool.” But overall, it was an impressive showing from a band you can expect to hear a lot more from in the coming years.

Also on the bill were locals Black Night Crash. Their set of not quite shoegaze and not quite full-on rock showed promise. The band played several new tunes off an upcoming release and much like Editors the new songs were in stark contrast from the group’s older material.

Princeton, a four-piece from Los Angeles featuring twin brothers sharing vocal duties, played a 45-minute set of bland indie-pop prior to Editors set. They sounded like a less polished and less African-influenced Vampire Weekend. While watching their set I sent a tweet asking if anyone knew anything about the band because I had never heard of them before they took the stage. Someone replied that the only reason critics pay attention to Princeton is because they are friends with Ra Ra Riot. After Friday’s show I agree.


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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.