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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Archive for August, 2010

Fistful of Mercy (Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison, Joseph Arthur) make its public debut in Seattle

Friday, August 27th, 2010


Ben Harper’s latest project, Fistful of Mercy, a band that includes Dhani Harrison (George Harrison’s son) and Joseph Arthur, gave its first public performance at the West Seattle Easy Street Records Thursday night. The seven-song, 40-minute set was a mixed bag of folk and blues with most of the music featuring three-part harmonies and split lead vocal duties between the trio.
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Local and national talent will shine at No Depression Festival

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

No Depression, the roots, alt.country and Americana website that was formerly a magazine, is hosting its second annual No Depression Festival at Marymoor Park Saturday. Last year’s festival was one of my favorite concerts of the year’s festivities could exceed last year’s amazing show which is why you should make a trip to Redmond this weekend.

Headlining the night will be the Swell Season, a band perhaps best known for their work on  the soundtrack for the film Once. The group’s music should be the perfect way to cap a sunny summer day in the park. While technically the Swell Season are headlining, not to be overlooked is the legendary Lucinda Williams who will take the stage in the time slot prior to the Swell Season.

The Swell Season and Lucinda Williams? See, I told you it was going to be a great festival.

Of course it wouldn’t be a local music festival without some emphasis on local talent and this year’s No Depression Festival features some of the best rootsy and Americana artists Seattle has to offer. Ballard’s The Maldives will be the first band of the day, taking the stage around 1:30 and if you haven’t seen this nine-piece country rock crew you are seriously missing out on some of the best local music being made today. Also on the local tip is Sera Cahoone, a Sub Pop artist who at one point was a member of the highly influential Carissa’s Weird (the band that spawned Band of Horses and several other notables). The highest profile local band on the bill is the Cave Singers. The band, which features former Pretty Girls Make Graves member Derek Fudesco, has been making waves in the indie rock (well, indie rockish I suppose) scene since the release of 2007’s Invitation Songs.

If the local talent combined with Lucinda Williams and the Swell Season isn’t enough to get you to Marymoor Park, Alejandro Escoveda and Chuck Prophet are also a part of the bill.

Tickets for the second annual No Depression Festival cost $41 in advance and $46 at the door and can be purchased here. Marymoor Park is located at 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE in Redmond.


Jangly, poppy & pretty darn good: Jaill @ Showbox at the Market 08.18.10

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Sub Pop Records has long been a local powerhouse in the music scene. Its tastemaking powers are often in fine form every time the label signs a new band or releases a new album, which is why I try to pay attention to just about everything  that goes on at Sub Pop HQ.  That and the fact Sub Pop has a long history of  introducing me to some of my favorite bands.

Sub Pop’s solid track record of adding excellent music to my record collection is why I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see Milwaukee-based Jaill, one of Sub Pop’s newest signings, open for The Hold Steady Wednesday night at Showbox at the Market. The band recently released its sophomore record “That’s How We Burn,” which is its first for Sub Pop, and it is easily one of my favorite Sub Pop releases of 2010. (more…)


PHOTOS: New Pornographers, The Dodos & Imaad Wasif @ Showbox at the Market 08.01.10

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS


Smart, aware and irrevocably cool: THEESatisfaction @ Columbia City Theatre 08.07.10

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Words by Shrie Spangler

THEESatisfaction has taken Seattle by storm. They stunned at the Capital Hill Block Party and turned a lot of industry heads at SXSW back in March. Now, Seattle is taking more notice of this emerging femme rap duo, embracing their jazzed-out boho “one love” vibe and scooching over a tad, anticipating their dominance. Real-life couple Cat and Stasia are breaking down what you THOUGHT you knew about women in the hip hop world, spinning it around and dishing it out in a smart, aware, and irrevocably cool way.

THEESatisfaction aren’t just rappers. Sure, they can lay down a solid acapella flow with ease, but their stunning live soul interludes and choruses are the sweet, sweet icing on the cake. The Columbia City Theater literally set the stage for their brainy, soul-infused, sci-fied performance on Saturday night. They owned the theater, Cat strutting around and punctuating Stasia’s crisp flow with cooing backing vocals. They wear their sexuality on their sleeve, speaking positively and with conviction about who they are (self-proclaimed “Black Weirdos”).

“Moonday School (Intergalactic Church)”, which has been getting heavy play at KEXP as of late, was just as infectious as the recorded track, a hip-hop spaceship pointed towards a fabulous soul-sister saturated planet in outer space. This was a great intro to their set, the song just glittered and the bumping base and swaying tempo was the appropriate foreshadowing for their performance.

Onstage they banter back and forth, deftly trading off flows emphatically over pre-recorded beats. THEESatisfaction are certainly a two-MC show, with both partners playing equal parts. “Bisexual”, their gay mantra, was a rouser. The witty, honest and playful vocals are the perfect vehicle for such a proclamation. They exuded self-affirmed cool, comfortable in their own skin, parading “weir,d” loud and proud.

 Their sound is decidedly sparse in execution though, snappy rhymes and smooth-like-molasses throaty vocals stand above all else with the easy bass booming in the background. But their earnest and clever lyrics coupled with a performer’s swagger and approach is a deadly combination. You’ll see more of Thee Cat and Stasia Satisfaction… they’re just finding their groove.

***THEESatisfaction at CHBP 10 photo by Jason Tang


Landsacpe rock: This Will Destroy You @ Neumos 08.14.10

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Local music scribe Heather Brammer caught instrumental rockers This Will Destroy You at Neumos last weekend. Here’s her thoughts about what went down at the show:

Who likes instrumental, landscape-y space rock?  I do! I do!  So naturally I was excited when I found out that This Will Destroy You was playing because every time they’ve supported an act that’s come to Seattle, they only play southern states!  I’ve been a fan for a few years and finally I got to see them live.

The band opened with the slow swelling of “Black Dunes”, a new song, but not overly unique in the genre of ambient guitar rock. It didn’t do too much for me. Next up (and better) was an older track, “There Are Some Remedies Worse Than The Disease”. Drums by Alex Bhore were dynamic and more upbeat, with a good guitar keen and a little screamy top note. Overall quality white noise. The set picked up even more on “Communal Blood”, a song with an urgent, tense tone. A bit scary, with the guitar building as a single voice. The whole stage briefly exploded with noise which ended with a single, rising pedal effect. The room was filled with the soothing reminiscent sound of the womb. You know, kind of like being trapped in an MRI machine. I don’t know about you, but I always find MRIs to be particularly pleasant.

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Soundgarden plays old songs, hits at Lollapalooza, Vic Theatre concerts

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Soundgarden continued to blaze its reunion tour trail last weekend with two shows in Chicago. The first show, which happened Aug. 5 at the Vic Theatre, was in a rather intimate setting as the band performed a 22-song set before a crowd of around 1,400. The second set went down with a bit more grandeur before a quite larger audience at Lollapalooza. The shows were the second and third concerts the band has performed since its breakup in 1997.

While Soundgarden rocking stadiums in 2010 is great news, to me that’s not the best part of what went down over the weekend. The most interesting part of the Chicago shows were the set lists, which saw the band digging deep into its catalog to play plenty of older material and even perform a song live for the first time (“4th of July”). This continues the trend the band started with its April show at the Showbox by not relying on its hits and catering its sets toward the hardcore Soundgarden fans. “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Face pollution” and “Mailman” were a few of the deeper cuts that made the set lists that weren’t performed in Seattle. The set lists for both Chicago shows more or less contained the same songs just in different order with a few exceptions (“Pretty Noose, “Superunknown,” “Head Down”).

Also of note is that Jack Irons, former Red Hot Chili Pepper and Pearl Jam drummer, joined the band on stage for “Slaves and Bulldozers,” the final song of its Lollapalooza set, according to setlist.fm. Set lists for the three reunion gigs are below for comparison as well as a few videos from the Vic show in case you want to know what the guys sound like nowadays. Apparently they were a lot more lax with cameras and recording in Chicago then they were in Seattle.

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VIDEOS: Clips from my favorite Capitol Hill Block Party sets

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Capitol Hill Block Party 2010 is now a thing of the past but you can forever relive the memories thanks to the Internet and the invention of YouTube. Below is a look at some of what I found from some of my favorite sets when I scoured the net for clips of CHBP 2010. Most of these videos are from the same YouTube user but I also took a few videos from elsewhere. If anything this will give you a taste of the diverse sounds that graced my ears a few weeks back. (more…)


Gorillaz Escape to Plastic Beach tour coming to KeyArena Nov. 2

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

The world’s most (and best) animated band, Gorillaz, are taking their show on the road and that road includes a stop in Seattle Nov. 2. The band, fronted by Damon Albarn but consisting of 2D, Murdoc Nicoals, Noodles and Russel Hobbs, will play KeyArena as part of their world tour. The date will be their last U.S. stop before heading to Europe. Tickets go on sale Aug. 20 for the show. Prices have not been revealed. Here’s to hoping Gorillaz management allows me to use my cell phone to take notes during the concert.


Full details on Soundgarden’s new album Telephantasm

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Information on the new Soundgarden album was released earlier this morning.

As previously reported the band will have a “new,” unreleased song “Black Rain,” featured in the upcoming Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock video game, which hits store shelves Sept. 28. New is in quotes because the song is an unreleased b-side from the band’s Badmotorfinger recording sessions.

 Today it was announced that  1 million copies of the game will also come bundled with Soundgarden’s highly anticipated career retrospective album “Telephantasm.” This will be the first time a game in the Guitar Hero series will be released with a music album. The track list for the 12-song album reads like a greatest hits album with 11 songs previously released and “Black Rain” acting as the lone unreleased song. Songs for the album are taken from  the Deep Six EP, Screaming Life EP, Fopp EP, Ultramega OK, Louder Than Love, Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down on the Upside (Full track list below the jump).

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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.