Monthly Archives: April 2009

Taking a listen to Sub Pop’s Record Store Day offerings from Blitzen Trapper, Flight of the Conchords, Obits and Vetiver

The second annual Record Store Day is Saturday and if you’re a music collector you will want to drop by your favorite vinyl-slinging indie music shop. I won’t bore you with the details of what RSD is, instead I will point you in this direction so you can read all about it. But you will want to know lots of great limited releases by artists big (Bob Dylan, Modest Mouse) and small (Camera Obscura, Gomez) are going to be made available for RSD. You can check out a list of some of what’s being sold for RSD here.

Seattle’s own bastion of indie coolness, Sub Pop Records, will be adding to the lot of limited-edition releases with four 7″ records by Blitzen Trapper, Obits, Vetiver and Flght of the Conchords. Each is limited to only 1,500 pressings (except for the Conchords, which has a run of 3,000) and each contains two unreleased songs.

Ear Candy has given a listen to what each of these awesome 7″ slabs of vinyl has to offer and highly recommends picking up each one because not only are they limited in number and will likely become collectors items, they’re all really, really good. Here’s a look at what you’ll be listening to if you grab these limited-edition gems.

Flight of the Conchords “Pencils In The Wind” 7″

“Pencils in the Wind”
The kiwi comedians sing about tape and how it binds things together, just like love. Brit and Jermaine get their Beatles on near the end of the song, which is about “the tape of love.”

“Albi the Racist Dragon”
This isn’t a song, rather it’s a skit with funny noises. It’s a bedtime story about mean-hearted dragon that grumbles, quite racistly, and his conversation with an Albanian boy he burned quite badly. Things work out in the end because both are different and Albi cries a single jellybean tear.

Blitzen Trapper “War Is Placebo” 7″

“War is Placebo”
This isn’t the jangly, backwoods Northwest-meets-the Ozarks side of Blitzen Trapper you may be familiar with. No, this is the softer, more direct and acoustic “Furr” side of the Trapper.

“Booksmart Baby”
A simple-yet-effective trio of guitar, banjo and harmonica beautifully creates the backbone of this song. My only complaint is the song’s length. It clocks in at less than two minutes. But then again, it is a 7″ record so you aren’t going for quantity here, it’s all about the quality.

Obits “I Can’t Lose” 7″

“I Can’t Lose”
Obits are currently my favorite Sub Pop act so I’m super stoked for this release. “I Can’t Lose” is great blend of garage rock and pop, which perfectly captures the essence of this standout Sub Pop band.

“Military Madness”
Obits slow things down a little for this track but it still maintains a rock edge that leads to a great, but sadly too brief, guitar crescendo. However, this track combined with its A-side counterpart make for a great gateway drug to a great band.

Vetiver “Wishing Well” 7″

“Wishing Well”
This catchy pop tune could have easily made it on Vetiver’s recently released album “Tight Knit” but somehow it didn’t make the cut. Thankfully we have Record Store Day so a gem like this can see the light of day.

“Pay No Mind”
If you squint your ears just right you might, just might catch the hint of Bob Dylan Vetiver attempts to release here. It’s slower song, yet melodic enough to hold its own against “Wishing Well.”

Ting Tings, All American Rejects, Brett Dennen and U.S.E. added to Bumbershoot lineup

All American Rejects at the Tacoma Dome in 2006 taken by Steven Friederich

Ear Candy just got word from the Bumberclub that four acts have been added to the Bumbershoot 2009 lineup. Those four acts are The Ting Tings, All American Rejects, Brett Dennen and Seattle’s own party-in-a-band United State of Electronica.

Overall I’m not too excited about these additions, but I am interested to check out The Ting Tings. They were the first band to sell out the new Crocodile (their concert sold out shortly after it was announced) and I’m curious to see what the hype is all about.

All American Rejects will likely draw the youth crowd and I expect to see them on the main stage performing after Katy Perry. And I could see Brett Dennen as a possiblity for an opener for Sheryl Crow.

As for U.S.E., they’re the name on the list I’m most excited about, but I will likely catch their set at Sasquatch before Bumbershoot so they aren’t a must see for me. However, U.S.E. is always a blast live and they have a new album coming out this year so it should be a fun set no matter what.

The last time U.S.E. performed at Bumbershoot it was on the main stage in 2004 back when BShoot was a four-day event. They kicked off what was billed as the "Hometown Throwdown!" and it featured U.S.E. opening for Death Cab For Cutie who in turn opened for the Presidents of the United States of America. Here’s what I wrote about that night for the P-I: 

As if Bumbershoot wasn’t already one big party, U.S.E. got the closing portion of the party started right with its infectious dance grooves. From "La Discoteca" to "Emerald City," U.S.E.’s high-energy stage presence was enjoyable and fun to watch. The colorful septet’s show was complete with pompom-waving cheerleaders wearing pink wigs and a hypeman waving a flag with the band’s logo.

The crowd ate up the band’s catchy, Daft Punk-meets-Junior Senior-with-a-Seattle-twist sound and, appropriately enough, a conga line, which is the equivalent of moshing at a U.S.E. show, broke out at the set’s midway point. Even the hippest of hipsters were seen bobbing their heads instead of staring at their shoes.

Here’s a taste of some new U.S.E. in the form of their latest single "All The World"

Getting experimental with Doug Benson

Doug Benson is a very funny, and very busy guy.

You might know him as The Pop Culture Bachelor or one of the other roles he plays on VH1’s “Best Week Ever.” You also might know him from his documentary “Super High Me,” in which he takes the Morgan Spurlock approach to marijuana and goes 30 days without smoking weed and 30 consecutive days toking up in an attempt to see what will happen. Or perhaps you saw him on “Last Comic Standing” or in “The Marijuana-Louges” an off-Broadway spoof of “The Vagina Monologues.” You may also have purchased his comedy record “Professional Humoredian.” Like I said, he’s a busy guy.

As you can tell, Doug has done quite a bit of, ahem, experimenting, and it is part of his comedy. Last month Doug was nice enough to do some experimenting with Ear Candy using something both he and Ear Candy are very fond of (it’s not what you think). Doug agreed to be interviewed via Twitter and the results of experimenting with Twitter as an interview tool were mixed. You can catch the many faces of Doug Benson in Seattle Saturday at the Moore Theatre (8 p.m.; $23) where he will likely be speaking in more than 140 character bursts.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get the screenshots from the “Twitterview” to post here, but I was able to get them to post, albiet in a rather janky fashion, over at Ear Candy the Seattle P-I reader blog.

You can read the entire interview here.

Fastbacks reunite for Kim Warnick’s 50th

From Ear Candy:

Kim Warnick photo by Laura Musselman

Well, looks like another Seattle band has decided to reunite. First Soundgarden (well, okay it was TADGARDEN, but stil …) then Sunny Day Real Estate and now the Fastbacks.

Last night Kim Warnick, she of Fastbacks fame, had her 50th birthday at the Crocodile. It was a private party and from the looks of the photos lots of people showed up. Among those people were her Fastbacks bandmates and they performed on stage for a brief reunion.

Laura Mussleman captured the night’s events through the lens of her camera. The above photo was taken by Laura.

Skeletons, Anchors, Blood and a Star: Four local bands you should be listening to now

Another dispatch from Ear Candy (and please note all these bands are playing shows in Seattle this week):

Skeletons With Flesh On Them @ EC Sasquatch! Prefunk

I’ve been getting a lot of great music in both my digital and non-digital mailboxes lately. The best part is that it is all local and all really, really good stuff. But instead of gloating about how great it is to get music in the mail, I figured I would share my thoughts on these amazing local releases that all get the Ear Candy seal of approval. So here’s what I’m listening to this week.

Skeletons With Flesh on Them "All the Other Animals"

This self-released, debut full-length record shows tremendous growth for a promising young band. They aren’t quite indie pop and definitely aren’t indie rock in its purest form . This je ne sais quoi of indieness adds to SWFOT’s sound which combines the melodic tendencies of Harvey Danger and the more rocking style of early Modest Mouse, providing a modern update of the Northwest indie sound. DOWNLOAD: "Power Cords"

Catch Skeletons With Flesh on Them Thursday at Chop Suey. They’re on a bill with Apple War, Breakfast and Bad Dream Good that will cost you $7.

Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs "The Only Thing That Matters"

Another great local artist with a stellar sophomore release is Ellensburg’s Star Anna. She’s delivering on the promise of becoming the alt-country siren of the Pacific Northwest that she showed on her debut record, 2008’s "Crooked Path." The growth displayed on this album is twofold with not only Star’s vocals and lyrics becoming more sophisticated and powerful but also her band, The Laughing Dogs, showcasing their skills while relishing the opportunity to carry many of the record’s 12 tracks. DOWNLOAD: "Burn"

Star Anna celebrates the release of "The Only Thing That Matters" Saturday at the Sunset Tavern. Also slated to perform are Kristen Ward and Hurricane Chaser. The show costs $8.

Erik Blood "The Way We Live"

Take one part Matthew Sweet add a dash of The Strokes and throw in some early 90s Bob Mould and you’re getting close to Erik Blood. He straddles the line of sensitive, introspective songwriter and overly ambitious rock singer extremely well on "The Way We Live." He almost fools you into thinking he’s more of the former on the record’s self-titled opening track but then songs like "Birch Effect" and "Broken Glass" come along and sucker punch your ears with infectious energy and ambition. DOWNLOAD:"Birch Effect"

Erik Blood performs at the Noise for the Needy kickoff show Saturday at Woodshed Studios with Truckasaurus and Speaker Speaker side project Exohxo for $6 in advance or $9 at the door.

Born Anchors "Sprezzatura"

There is a reason these guys are the local buzz band du jour. It’s because they are really, really good. Technically I don’t have a physical copy of this album (I have been listening to a stream provided to me by the group’s publicist) but one is in the mail and when I get it "Sprezzature" won’t likely leave my CD player for some time. It’s a rollicking jolt of power pop-rock with perfectly executed three-minute gems of songs that would fit perfectly on any alt-rock playlist. DOWNLOAD: "Cascading"

Born Anchors will celebrate the release of "Sprezzatura" Saturday at the Comet during their CD release show with Derby, Surrogate and Ruth.

Decemberists to play Marymoor Park July 17

Ear Candy’s Brent Stecker has the following to report:

So, lets say you got your copy of The Decemberists’ new rock opera “The Hazards of Love,” but you want to experience the album in its full live glory, and driving three hours to see them at Sasquatch! isn’t in your plans.

Well, The Decemberists have your back, because they’ve added a date at Marymoor Park on July 17. According to Pitchfork, the show will be the start of the second leg of their “A Short Faced Hovel” tour, which will feature two sets by everybody’s favorite hyper-literate folk rockers — one being “The Hazards of Love” in its entirety (meaning My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden and Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark will both be there to play their “parts” from the rock opera), and the other being a more traditional set made up of old favorites. Tickets go on sale Saturday, with a presale taking place Thursday. Andrew Bird and Blind Pilot will open the show.

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Art Brut, Constantines, Throw Me The Statues and more to rock Noise for the Needy

Noise For The Needy, a local non-profit organization that raises money for charitable causes through the production of live music shows, has announced the lineup for this year’s festival. Headliners include the 1990s , Art Brut, The Constantines, Grand Archives, Crystal Antlers, Throw Me The Statue and more. This year’s shows will take place at several venues across Seattle June 10th through 14th and will feature more than 40 bands. All proceeds will benefit Transitional Resources, a licensed mental health center and residential program located in West Seattle.

Here are the scheduled shows:

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Soundgarden to reunite? Here’s what Chris Cornell has to say

It looks like the possibility of a Soundgarden reunion is coming closer to a reality. Or at least it does based off some of the interesting, and somewhat contradictory, statements made by Chris Cornell in the wake of TADGARDEN.

Well, okay, maybe the possibility of a Soundgarden reunion doesn’t actually exist. Chris Cornell is making it difficult to read between the lines here.

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Eddie Vedder announces solo tour

Well, as expected the big Pearl Jam announcement today involved an Eddie Vedder solo tour. This tour will likely lead up to a Pearl Jam fall tour. What’s lame about this news is that once again Eddie is avoiding playing a solo show in Seattle. Yes, he did do a surprise set in West Seattle last year, but really Ed you need to step it up and either bring your solo act to Seattle proper with a legit solo headlining show or get the boys back together and play a full-blown Pearl Jam show in Washington state.

Here’s the news from the press release:

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