Tag: Seattle WA

The up-and-coming Seattle, WA-based quartet Thunderpussy, comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), quickly exploded into the national scene with co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and for a string of attention-grabbing, critically applauded live shows. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you’d recall that I wrote about their incredibly assured, ass-kicking and name-taking, power-chord Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Joan Jett anthem “Speed Queen.”

“Velvet Noose,” is the much-anticipated, bluesy follow up to “Speed Queen,” that features a blistering “Evenflow“-like guitar solo from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, twinkling keys, thundering drumming and arena rock friendly hooks — and while further cementing the quartet’s reputation for straightforward yet incredibly assured power chord-based rock, the song manages to be roomy enough to prominently display Sides’ Janis Joplin meets Wilson sisters-like vocals.

The band is currently in the studio with Sylvia Massy, who’s worked with Johnny Cash and Tool, working on new material that will be released in 2018 — and based on “Speed Queen,” and their latest single, I suspect that you’ll be hearing quite a bit about these ladies over the course of the following year.

 

Comprised of childhood friends Ben Grant and Paul Dutton, the up-and-coming, Seattle, WA-based duo Ravennas have been playing music since grade school — from drum lessons to junior high jazz band to their own creative pursuits in which Dutton contributes his expertise in music theory and instrumental mastery with Grant’s guttural artistic instinct. And with their DoM-produced debut single “Meet In A Garden,” the duo’s sound manages to be an effortless blend of psych pop, electro pop and indie rock that’s reminiscent of Amoral-era ViolensIn Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms as the song is propelled by jangling guitar chords, an angular bass line and soaring hooks. But what makes the song remarkable to me is that the Seattle-based duo manage to balance a deliberate attention to craft with an earnestness of feeling and purpose.

 

2017 has been a breakthrough year for the up-and-coming, electro rock/electro pop duo Foreign Air — their latest EP For The Light, which was released earlier this year, received over 15 million Spotify streams, they had material included in a Nike ad campaign, and building upon a growing profile, the duo opened for the likes of Phantogram, Aurora, BØRNS, X Ambassadors, Kevin Garrett and Lewis Del Mar, before heading to Seattle to record their forthcoming, Phil Ek-produced full-length debut, slated for release in 2018.

Their latest single “Chakra Daemon” will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for material inspired by heady subject matters — for this particular song, evolution, biomechanics and the ubiquitous email bounce back bot Mailer Daemon, as a comment on how much of one’s daily routine is heaped in negative, harmful and repetitive energy.  Sonically, the song follows along a similar vein as its predecessors — a murky and menacing production featuring layers of arpeggiated and pulsating synths, four-on-the-floor drum programming, bursts of buzzing guitar and an anthemic yet somewhat post-apocalyptic hook paired with Jesse Classen’s crooned vocals. Interestingly enough, this single finds the duo’s sound nodding at classic 80s synth pop like Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode and others, as well as contemporary synth pop acts like Painted Palms.

As the duo’s Classen explains “We as humans are constantly looking for a connection. However, more often than not we fail to find that connection leaving one to feel lonely or even invisible at time. As humans slowly begin self evolving by integrating bio-technology, I imagine one day there will be a Chakra Daemon. This will be like an artificial subconscious. An enhanced intuition. Beyond the obvious implication of keeping us out of danger, I think it will also play a role in navigating us through relationships both platonic and romantic.”

The duo, who also just wrapped a short stint supporting Bishop Briggs, will begin a co-headlining run w/ D.C. electro-pop act SHAED on Nov. 30 in Chicago and it’ll include a December 5, 2017 stop at Public Arts. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates:
*Co-headlining dates w/ SHAED​​​​​​​
11/30: Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen*
12/2: Toronto, ON @ Drake*
12/4: Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
12/5: New York, NY @ Public Arts*
12/7: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s*
12/8: Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel*

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates:
*Co-headlining dates w/ SHAED​​​​​​​
11/30: Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen*
12/2: Toronto, ON @ Drake*
12/4: Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
12/5: New York, NY @ Public Arts*
12/7: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s*
12/8: Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel*

New Video: Badass Ladies Badass Bikes and Dive Bars in New Video for Thunderpussy’s “Speed Queen”

Comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), the up-and-coming Seattle, WA-based quartet Thunderpussy quickly exploded into the national scene with co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready, as well as string of attention-grabbing, blistering live shows.  And from their latest single, the incredibly self-assured, ass-kicking and name-taking “Speed Queen,” the buzz around the Seattle-based quartet is well-deserved, as they specialize in sultry, scuzzy and anthemic power chord-based rock that seems to be inspired by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Joan Jett, among others.

As the band notes, their latest single is a motorcycle love story that mirrors and draws from the relationship between Whitney Petty and Molly Sides. Petty adds, “I got the title from an old coin laundry joint in Seattle that was full of high powered dyers labeled ‘Speed Queen.’ I always imagined a ‘Speed Queen’ as this mythical character with a checkered past, who led a female motorcycle gang. Then when I started writing the song, it became clear that I was writing about my partner — Molly Sides.”

The band is currently in the studio with Sylvia Massy, who’s worked with Johnny Cash and Tool, working on new material that will be released in 2018 — and based on “Speed Queen,” you’ll be hearing quite about these ass kicking ladies. But in the meantime, the recently released Cheryl Ediss’ directed video for “Speed Queen” features incredibly cinematic and 70s B movie-inspired visuals of bad ass ladies in a divey motorcycle bar drinking and fighting before its central couple meet cute and seduce each other, and escape on a wild motorcycle ride, because of course! 

New Video: Ron Gallo Looks Back on a Dysfunctional Romantic Relationship in New Visuals for Album Single “Put The Kids To Bed”

Ron Gallo is a Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is perhaps best known for his eight-year stint as the frontman of Philadelphia-based indie band Toy Soldiers, an act that initially began as a guitar and drum duo that at one point evolved into a massive 12 member collective, before settling into a quintet when the band split up in 2014. Gallo’s full-length effort Heavy Meta was released earlier this, and the album was primarily written while Gallo was still in Philadelphia, and while he was involved in a lengthy romantic relationship with a woman, who had a number of personal and emotional issues. As the story goes, when that relationship end, Gallo relocated to Nashville and finished writing the album during a period in which may arguably have been among the most transformative periods of his life, a period that he had felt was a personal reawakening and a musical rebirth.

At the time Gallo wrote and recorded songs in small batches without the intention of making a full-length album and initially without the support of a label. As Gallo explained in press notes “Coming out on the other side, I now look at my past as a hazy dream where I did not know myself or the world at all. I still don’t know anything, but I’m closer than before. There is so much to learn outside of your comfort zone.” The album’s material reportedly touches upon several themes including Gallo’s personal ideology on abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead love, not knowing yourself, mental illness and more — and although Gallo expresses a frustration with humanity and civilization, the material is balanced with an underlying hopefulness. Says Gallo, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.” He ends by saying “Party is over — this is the beginning of true personal responsibility for ourselves and our world and so we must LIVE truth, be freaks, be fearless, be light, love and be our best selves.”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about album single “Please Yourself,” a fuzzy and aggressive garage punk rock song consisting of fuzzy and distorted power chords, a propulsive backbeat and Gallo’s howled vocals expressing a wild urgency and frustration, as though the song’s narrator wants to violently shake everyone around him while screaming at them “Pay attention, you goddamn idiots! Stop fucking around and do something to make it right!” The album’s latest single “Put The Kids To Bed” finds Gallo and his backing band meshing jangling garage rock and psych rock while detailing the push and pull of  a hopelessly dysfunctional romantic relationship — and while rooted in an unvarnished and unflinching honesty, the song will further cement Gallo’s growing reputation for crafting incredibly hook driven rock. 

The recently released video for “Put The Kids To Bed” continues Gallo’s ongoing collaboration with director Joshua Shoemaker, and the visuals follow a dream-like logic, following Gallo as he heads to bed. Eventually a woman joins him and they place paper bags over their heads, symbolically trying to make their best face, despite a simmering hate between them. Whoa. 

Live Footage: Xiu Xiu Covers ZZ Top on AV Club “Undercover”

I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.

The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.

And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song. 

Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top. 

As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry. 

This was funny and I thought hmmm .  . .

Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.  

We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’

The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be. 

Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’”

He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “

 

Comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), the up-and-coming Seattle, WA-based quartet Thunderpussy quickly exploded into the national scene with co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready, as well as string of attention-grabbing, blistering live shows.  And from their latest single, the incredibly self-assured, ass-kicking and name-taking “Speed Queen,” the buzz around the Seattle-based quartet is well-deserved, as they specialize in sultry, scuzzy and anthemic power chord-based rock that seems to be inspired by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Joan Jett, among others.

As the band notes, their latest single is a motorcycle love story that mirrors and draws from the relationship between Whitney Petty and Molly Sides. Petty adds, “I got the title from an old coin laundry joint in Seattle that was full of high powered dyers labeled ‘Speed Queen.’ I always imagined a ‘Speed Queen’ as this mythical character with a checkered past, who led a female motorcycle gang. Then when I started writing the song, it became clear that I was writing about my partner — Molly Sides.”

The band is currently in the studio with Sylvia Massy, who’s worked with Johnny Cash and Tool, working on new material that will be released in 2018 — and based on “Speed Queen,” you’ll be hearing quite about these ass kicking ladies.

New Video: Mark Lanegan Band Releases Surreal Yet Cinematic Visuals for “Emperor”

Mark Lanegan is a Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as one of the founding members and frontman of renowned Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and as a solo artist who has collaborated with an incredibly diverse array of artists and bands throughout his lengthy career including Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind. Along with that Lanegan is also known for being a member of the grunge rock, All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready and for joining Queens of the Stone Age after the breakup of Screaming Trees, contributing on five of the band’s albums  — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork. Lanegan has also collaborated with The Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins and has collaborated with former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, he has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others. As a solo artist, Lanegan has released 10 studio albums that have been critically applauded and have seen a fair amount of commercial success. 

Lanegan’s 10th and most recent album Gargoyle was released this past summer through Heavenly Recordings. And interestingly enough, the Ellensburg, WA, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter can take the origins of the album’s overall sound and aesthetic back to early last year. As the story goes, the grunge rock legend was working on ideas for what could be a new, solo album, when he received an email from his friend and collaborator, British-based musician Rob Marshall, who he met several years before when Marshall’s former band Exit Calm had supported Soulsavers, a band that Lanegan had been fronting. Marshall’s email thanked Lanegan for his participation on a Humanist album — and in the email, Marshall offered to write music for Lanegan, if he needed it to return the favor. As Lanegan recalled in press notes, his response was along the lines of “Hey man, I’m getting ready to make a record, if you’ve got anything? Three days later he sent me 10 things… !” 

Interestingly, the music Marshall had written had managed to fit perfectly with the direction Lanegan had been thinking of for some time — an expansion of the Krautrock-inspired electronic sounds and textures of his previous two albums Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio. Eventually Marshall wound up co-writing six of the album’s 10 songs with the remainder of the album being written and produced by Lanegan’s longtime collaborator Alain Johannes at 11AD Studios in West Hollywood. Gargoyle‘s second single “Beehive” pairs Lanegan’s imitable boozy, growling baritone vocals with a bluesy and swaggering production featuring shimmering guitar chords and enormous tweeter and woofer rattling beats, essentially pushing Lanegan’s recent forays into the blues into the 21st Century; but in a way that feels both warmly familiar and yet new.

Gargoyle’s latest single “Emperor” finds Lanegan and his backing band pairing Lanegan’s imitable, boozy and growling baritone with the sort of old-timey, bar room blues that brings to mind Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger,” complete with jangling and shimmering guitars and a propulsive backbeat; but much like its predecessor, the song possesses a weary and existential weariness just underneath the surface. 

The recently released video continues a string of cinematic yet surreal visuals — in this case, the viewer is thrown into a vaguely Russian styled dictatorship, full of state sanction violence upon innocent people while also nodding at Julius Caesar. While being fictional, the video manages to evoke our dangerously strange and uncertain times. 

Last month, I wrote about the Seattle, WA-based grunge rock band Gruntruck. Initially formed in 1989, the band’s original lineup featured featured founding members Skin Yard’s Ben McMillan (vocals) and Norman Scott (drums), The Accused’s Tommy Niemeyer (guitar) and Final Warning’s Tim Paul (bass), and can trace their origins to when the band’s founding duo wrote a song while on tour with Skin Yard that they felt was worthy of forming a new project around. At around the same time Scott was briefly in Soundgarden and collaborated with Chris Cornell on a lesser-known project, the low frequency power trio Bass Truck. And interestingly enough, with the new material that McMillan and Scott started to write for their new project, they decided to blend the sound that Norman developed in Bass Truck with their then-primary project’s sound to create a harder, more metal-leaning grunge rock sound.

1990’s Jack Endino and Gary King-produced debut Inside Yours was released through Seattle-based label Empty Records with a simultaneous release through German label Musical Tragedies, and it featured album single “Not a Lot to Save,” which received airplay on MTV. Interestingly enough, the members of Gruntruck had opened for Pearl Jam throughout 1991 — and famously, they opened for Pearl Jam the night they filmed the video for “Even Flow.”

With the growing buzz on all things Seattle, the members of Gruntruck signed a multi-album deal with Roadrunner Records, who re-released Inside Yours later that year. Their follow up effort, 1992’s  Endino and King-produced effort Push featured album track “Tribe,” which received regular rotation on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. And building upon a rapidly growing profile, Gruntruck opened for Alice in Chains during their 1992 US and Canadian tour and Pantera‘s Winter 1993 European tour. Immediately upon their return to Seattle, the band went through a number of lineup changes but they managed to release a video for  “Crazy Love,” which received airplay on MTV — including an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, in which a stunned Butthead mused “I must be hallucinating now. I can’t believe they’re playing something cool. These guys rock!”

Sadly, at the height of their popularity in 1996, the members of the band were struggling to make ends meet while fulfilling their contractual obligations to Roadrunner Records. As the story goes, Polygram Records offered to buy out Gruntruck’s contract for $1 million, but Roadrunner Records refused. Based on the advice of their lawyer, the band filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to break free of their contract. Unsurprisingly, that was promptly followed by Roadrunner Records suing to block the band’s bankruptcy with the result being a precedent-setting case that’s been cited in subsequent cases, written about in legal journals — and eventually inspired congressional legislation. And although the court eventually ruled in Gruntruck’s favor, their various legal issues exacted a deep financial and emotional toil on the band, as well as stalled the band’s momentum.

By 1997, the band’s original lineup reunited, and began working on new material; some of which wound up comprising their self-titled third album, an effort that the members of the band envisioned as their breakthrough effort. Recorded and finished over a two year period in five different studios in and around the Seattle area with Jack Endino and Martin Feveyear taking up production duties, the band decided to build up buzz for the album with a busy live schedule, playing shows in and around Seattle; however, just as they were about to build up some buzz, the band went on a hiatus in 2003 to allow Ben McMillan to recover from a number of health issues.

Sadly McMillan died from complications related to diabetes in 2008, and the third album languished in the vaults until last year, when Jack Endino mentioned its existence to Found Recordings head, Scott Blum, who pushed to get the album released, over a decade since the initial recording sessions. Now, as you may recall, the album’s first official single “Bar Fly,” featured an ambitious, arena rock-based sound consisting of enormous power chords, and a shout from the mosh pit worthy course — and while nodding at metal, the song manage stop remind me of Dirt-era Alice in Chains and Purple-era Stone Temple Pilots. “Noise Field,” their self-titled album’s latest single continues in a similar vein — a quiet, loud, quiet song structure that allows room for enormous power chords and thundering drumming. However, the one noticeable difference to me is that the song manages to sound as though it were influenced by Core-era Stone Temple Pilots.

“Noise Field” much like its predecessor will remind many listeners of grunge’s high point of 1991-1994 or so and simultaneously its low point of 1996-1999 or so; but underneath, there’s a sad reminder of what could have been for the band. After all, for the first, second and even third wave bands that find some level of success, there are many more bands, who get a brief taste of recognition but never quite make it further than that.

Interestingly, the song will strike many as a remanent of a decidedly particular period — 1996-1998 or so — but underneath that, there’s a sad reminder of what could have been; after all, for the rare Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgardens, etc., there’s countless bands, who get close to making it and many more that never make it.

 

 

New Video: The Hazy and Dream-like Visuals for Up-and-Coming Sibling Pop Duo Chaos Chaos’ “Dripping With Fire”

Comprised of Seattle, WA-born, New York-based sibling duo Asy and Chloe Saavedra, the electro pop duo Chaos Chaos is a decided sonic left turn for those who may be familiar with the Saavedras earlier work as members of Seattle-born band Smoosh, an act that opened for the likes of Bloc Party, Sleater Kinney and Cat Power, as the sibling duo’s latest project finds the duo pairing analog synth soundscapes, programmed and live drums with gorgeous harmonies. And while some have compared the duo’s sound to the likes of PJ Harvey, Stereolab and Little Dragon, the duo’s latest single “Dripping With Fire” sounds — to my ears, at least — much more like JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo but with a modern production sheen. 

Directed by Stephanie Dimiskovski with photography direction by Steven Rico possesses a surreal, dream-like logic. and as the sibling duo explained in a written statement to the folks at Noisey, “We wanted to shed light on a more true sisterhood by recalling the memorabilia of damaging [and healing] as the somewhat conflicted foundation of sisterhood.’ Each posed scene, like dioramas of the Saavedras’ personal life and emotions, takes viewers into another world.”