Monthly Archives: March 2010

A visually intriguing multimedia treat unlike anything happening in local music

To call Queerbait!, a new project involving Gina Young (she of Team Gina fame), different would be an understatement.

The group is difficult to describe and they are not like any other acts gracing stages in Seattle, which is one of the many reasons I am thrilled to have them as part of Ear Candy’s Birthday Bash 2010 at Nectar Lounge

Queerbait! is really more of a performance art multimedia project than it is a band and its live shows look to be equally visually intriguing and musically entertaining (see videos below). The core lineup consists of two modern dancers (Meredith Meiko and Tova Eisner), a visual artist (Johanna Breiding) and a musician (Gina Young). Not much is more is known about Queerbait! because they have a limited web presence, no recorded material and the group has only performed one live show. But from the videos you get a glimpse of lots of interesting costumes, makeup and some rapping in German. While the project is in its infancy,  I’ve been told the group intends future collaborations with musicians like Kamikavi and Radio Sloan, and queer theorists/academics like E.L. Hunter and Marisa Ragonese.

See, I told you they are unlike anything happening in Seattle.

Peep the videos below and come catch Queerbait! at Nectar Lounge March 14 when they open Ear Candy’s Birthday Bash 2010. Other performers slated for the show include Lisa Dank, Katie Kate and No-Fi Soul Rebellion. Doors at 8 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $6 at the door. Show is 21+

From Crosscut: MTV’s $5 Cover gives Seattle’s music scene its closeup

I wrote the below review for Crosscut. Expect to read more about MTV’s $5 Cover: Seattle when the series airs online in June.

Seattle’s music scene got its closeup Monday night (March 2) at SIFF Cinema during the world premiere of local director Lynn Shelton’s MTV’s “$5 Cover: Seattle.”

So how does the local music community look on the big screen? Like real people, not film characters.

The last time Seattle’s music scene was captured well on film was in “Singles,” Cameron Crowe’s 1992 tribute to the glory days of grunge. Shelton’s non-Hollywood production likely won’t get as much hype but it is far superior. The characters of her film aren’t really characters at all: They are genuine people playing their real-life roles on film. This should bode well for “$5 Cover: Seattle” in this era where musical tastes steer toward authenticity over mass-produced pop stars, and MTV’s music content is relegated to the Internet, not the television.

Set to be released on the Internet in June, Shelton’s film is a glowing love letter to Seattle’s music scene. The 60-minute movie follows 13 bands through a weekend in Seattle, via 12 episodic and scripted vignettes. Given that MTV has long lost its credibility with musicians, this project could’ve been a disaster. Thankfully Shelton, with her affection for local musicians, made sure this was a genuine and accurate representation of Seattle’s music community.
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SEACATS, Hooves & Beak, Great Waves & Candysound battle it out at EMPSFM’s Sound Off! Saturday

You know how they say third times a charm? Well, it looks like the third round was a charm for a pair of bands that performed during Saturday’s final semifinal round.

Great Waves, from Sammamish, Wash. won Saturday’s Sound Off! competition and automatically earned a slot in  the finals round this weekend. Runners-up from last weekend’s Sound Off!, SEACATS, from Kelso, Wash., won the wildcard bid to the finals round. SEACATS was chosen by EMP’s Youth Advisory board as the wild card winner. The band, which has a poppy, Weezer-meets-Tea Cozies sound, beat out melodic indie rockers Sea Fever from Seattle and Bellingham instrumental jazz group Pan Pan for the wildcard spot.

The band will compete against the charming indie rock of Bellingham duo Candysound, the beautiful harp and vocals of Hooves and Beak and the folk/rock hybrid of Great Waves The winner of Sound Off! gets studio time, a slot at this year’s Bumbershoot and many other great prizes.

I’m not going to write much about the bands that performed during the final semifinal round of Sound Off ! last weekend because I was a judge of the competition that week. However, expect to read some words here soon about my experience as a judge in the coming days. In short, it was a fun and challenging experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat if asked.

Tickets for the Sound Off! finals can be purchased at the EMP|SFM box office or by calling 206-770-2702. Tickets cost $10 for the general public, $7 for students or EMPSFM members. Doors are 7:00 pm, shows start at 8:00 pm.

*** SEACATS photo courtesy EMPSFM

Brought to you by the letter P: Past lives and Post Harbor drop excellent albums

The P section in the record bins at your local record shop got a little more topheavy with Pacific Northwest rock today thanks to two excellent releases by Post Harbor and Past Lives. Both provide compelling listens with each showcasing different sides of Seattle’s rock landscape. If these albums are any indication, 2010 is going to be a great year for rock in the Emerald City.
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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers coming to the Gorge June 11 & 12, tickets on sale Saturday

Another couple of dates on the Gorge’s summer calendar got filled when it was announced last week that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will be performing at the Gorge June 11 and June 12.

The tour is in support of Petty and the Heartbreakers new album, Mojo, which is set to be released later this spring. The album is Petty and the Heartbreakers first in eight years. Tickets for the shows go on sale March 8 (ticket prices have yet to be announced) and when you buy a ticket to the show you’ll be given a download code for two tracks from Mojo (“First Flash Of Freedom” and “Good Enough”). When the album is released you will be given a download code for the rest of the record. Also included with every online ticket purchase,will be a selection of live tracks recorded during the tour. Those will be delivered at the end of the 2010 tour. The first single from Mojo, “Good Enough,” is now streaming at Tom Petty’s Web site.

Opening for Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Gorge is Joe Cocker. Other openers throughout the tour include My Morning Jacket, ZZ Top, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Drive-By Truckers. Of course we’ll be getting a headlining set from MMJ at Sasquatch! this year and the Truckers will also be at Saquatch! but unfortunately they will likely get a shortened festival set time. Hopefully Patterson Hood and the rest of the DBTs come back to the Seattle area for a full show later this year.

Keeping it simple while shaking things up: The Lights’ Failed Graves

Artist: The Lights
Album: Failed Graves
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Score: 7.5/11


The Lights are a bit of a musical conundrum. On the surface this local trio are a punk band with garage rock leanings. But if you dig a bit deeper and give their latest effort Failed Graves a good listen or two you’ll discover tinges of psychedelic wails (“The Fixer), some borderline pop rock (“New New”) and other seemingly out of place sounds for your typical Northwest punk band. But the surprise isn’t the unusual mashing of styles. What’s surprising is that throughout the album The Lights shake things up with their layering of various sounds while also keeping things simple. This could be a product of only having people in a band, making musical embellishments easier to distinguish, or maybe it is just something that wasn’t planned and it sort of just happened. Whatever it was The Lights were trying to pull off here it works.

A record like the one I’m describing might sound like a complicated, earbending ride, but this is where the simplicity comes into play. Despite all the tambourine mashing (“Criag Jr.”), shout-along choruses (“Trabbit”) and the quieter, more melodic songs (“Puerto Escondito”) Failed Graves is more or less a lo-fi punk record. Craig Chambers’ guitar keeps a jangly, but also dirty sound throughout the album while the rhythm section of Jeff Albertson (bass) and PJ Rogalski (drums) never gets too fancy. On Failed Graves The Lights are doing exactly what local bands like Mudhoney before them did in the early 90s and what their contemporaries The Fucking Eagles and The Cute Lepers are doing now: they’re taking punk rock making it their own. And really, what’s more simple than that?

Like a living room of local legends: Hootenanny For Haiti @ Showbox at the Market 02.28.10

Some of Seattle’s finest put on one helluva hootenanny at Showbox at the Market to help victims of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January.

A hootenanny by definition is pretty much an informal participatory musical gathering of friends and family where everyone either plays instrument or sings along to their favorite songs. And that’s exactly what was delivered Sunday night right down to the stage decor, which included several couches and votive candles for lighting.

The show had a very casual down home feel but this was no family jamboree. The musicians on stage were some of the biggest stars Seattle has contributed to rock ‘n’ roll including Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, Matt Cameron and Kim Warnick to name a few. It was like you were being invited into a living room of local legends for a jam session in the form of a near three-hour concert that contained so many major players from the local music scene, both past and present, that all of them couldn’t be contained on the stage. It was an awesome mix of the old guard teaming up with some of the city’s fastest-rising talent for an unforgettable night.

The first set of the evening mostly kept things on the softer, acoustic side with health doses of country twang. Musicians shuffled off and on the stage and each time a new singer took to the microphone (which was pretty much every song) a fantastic cover of well-known song by a dream lineup of Seattle musicians was born.

Want a band consisting of a few Fastbacks and a guy who was in Green River? Done. How about a Soundgarden member teaming up with a guy from the Screaming Trees and a former Vendetta Red guy? That was doable too. Or maybe you’d prefer pairing Pearl Jam’s guitarist with a rising alt-country songstress and a member of Sweetwater? Not a problem. As you can see, there were some pretty cool band cross pollination happening. Only in a city like Seattle could such fantastic combinations happen. Prince, Echo and the Bunnymen, Neil Young and the Psychedelic Furs were a few of the artists covered that added to the show’s feel of excitement.

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