Tag: seattle

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past four years or so, you’ve come across a number of posts featuring the Seattle, WA-based JOVM mainstays Shabazz Palaces. Comprised of Digable Planets‘ Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, the son of Dumisani Maraire, the project continues Butler’s long-held reputation for being uncompromisingly different and for crafting material with pro-Black messages.

Butler and Maraire quietly released two albums in 2009 — their self-titled debut and Of Light, which caught the attention of renowned indie label Sub Pop Records, who signed the band and released 2011’s Black Up, an effort released to critically applause across the blogosphere and major media outlets for its kaleidoscopic sound paired with Butler’s witty and incredibly dexterous flow. While continuing to cement Butler’s and Mariare’s reputation for crafting incredibly weird, psychedelic-tinged hip hop paired with Butler’s ridiculously dexterous flow,  2014’s Lese Majesty was a decided change in sonic direction with much of the material possessing an eerie cosmic glow with even heavier low end — intergalactic trap, perhaps? Along with the decided change of direction, was a bold challenge to contemporary hip-hop artists. As Butler told the folks at NPR during an interview about Lese Majesty, “This endeavor that I pursue, that we all pursue in Shabazz Palaces, make no mistake, this is an attack. We’re trying to show off and really stunt on all other rappers and let them know that this is our style, this is what we do and we’re ready to put it up against anybody else’s stuff.”

Up until recently, some time had passed since I had written about Shabazz Palaces. After all both Maraire and Butler had been busy with separate creative pursuits — in 2015, Maraire had written and released material with his side project, Chimurenga Renaissance and Butler spent last year on a reunion tour with the members of Digable Planets, a tour that has continued with some dates this year — including later this month at Brooklyn’s House of Vans. But interestingly enough, the duo of Butler and Maraire had also managed to be wildly prolific during that period writing and recording material for two albums  — Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star and Quarzarz vs. The Jealous Machines, which will see a simultaneous release on July 14, 2017 through Sub Pop Records. Now, as you may recall I wrote about “Shine A Light,” the first single off Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star, and while continuing the duo’s long-running collaboration with soul outfit Thadillac, who contribute a lush, dusty, old-school soul-leaning arrangement featuring shimmering strings, a strutting bass line, warm psychedelic guitar blasts, shuffling drum beats, and a retro-futuristic-like hook consisting of distorted, vocoder-filtered vocals, the single thematically is part of a surreal yet politically-charged concept album that introduces the listener to and then tells the tale of Quazarz, a sentient being from far away, who’s sent to be an observer and musical emissary with a mission to explore and chronicle the things he sees and experiences,subtly echoing the  cult-classic film The Brother From Another Planet and Alexis De Tocqueville‘s Democracy in America; however, what our otherworldly emissary finds is a bizarre, cutthroat landscape of brutality, conformity, alternative facts, hypocrisy, greed, suffering, selfishness and death masquerading as patriotism and connectivity. And as result, Quazarz finds himself feeling increasingly horrified and out of place and within a world that is unfathomably hellish and unfair.

Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines is for all intents and purposes, a spiritual and thematic twin of sorts. Produced by Butler and Sunny Levine and recorded at Seattle’s Protect and Exalt Labs: A Black Space and Dror Lord Studios in Marina Del Rey, CA and featuring guest spots from Chimuregna Renaissance’s Fly Guy Dai, Amir Yaghamai, John Carroll Kirby, Thaddillac, Morgan Henderson, The Shogun Shot, Laz, and Purple Tape Nate, the album continues with the tell of our otherworldly musical emissary Quarzarz and in his further explorations of modern life, he discovers a world in which humankind’s relationship with technology has become both co-dependent and strangely sensual, as it seduces people to be sedentary, thoughtless, uninspired to do anything to change their individual plight, let alone change the world, and having their creativity and life stolen from them. Along with a bunch of misfit cohorts, the protagonist lead a rising collective “hell no,” to the device and the guilds that proliferate them. The album’s first single “30 Clip Extension” is arguably the strangest song that Butler and Maraire have released as the song features a minimalist production featuring wobbling and tumbling low end, stuttering drum programming, enormous beats and shimmering synths paired with Butler flow alternating between surrealistic poetry and rhyming, describing an arrogant, vain, ostentatious, highly bored, drug-addled rapper, who’s controlled by an unseen conspiracy of exterior and interior forces — and while viciously poking fun at a contemporary hip-hop movement, the duo also manages to poke fun at our own greed and foolishness, reminding the listener that there are people actually fucking suffering, and that it’s time to put the devices down.

 

 

 

Comprised of brothers Martin (vocals, guitar) and Mads Rehof (bass), along with high school friends Jacob van Deurs Formann (guitar) and Frederik Lind Köppen (drums), the Copenhagen, Denmark-based quartet Communions can trace their origins to when the Rehof Brothers returned to their native Copenhagen after spending several years in Seattle. The Danish quartet initially received attention across the blogosphere, including the site where they’ve become mainstays, for crafting shimmering and plaintive guitar pop songs that sonically owed a debt to The Smiths; however, instead of the material possessing Morrissey’s bitterly ironic lyrics, the Danish quartet’s material possesses a swooning Romanticism — the sort evoke the urgency of first love.

The Copenhagen-based quartet’s much-anticipated full-length debut Blue is slated for a February 3, 2017 release through renowned indie label, Fat Possum Records and from the album’s latest single “It’s Like Air” reveals a band whose songwriting and sound has evolved, while retaining many of the elements that first won the band attention across the blogosphere as the band pairs the swaggering, enormous power chord and anthemic hook sound of 90s Brit Pop — i.e., The Verve, Blur, Oasis and others — with swooning and urgently Romantic lyrics. And although the song will further cement their reputation for writing material that evokes the fervent passions and confusion of youth, the heart and soul of the song, as well as the entire album is about the fact that both life and love are ultimately about taking a leap of faith, even when you may be scared out of your mind about the end result.

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Dan Matthews (vocals, guitar), Neil Hayes (guitar, vocals), Gary Moses (bass, vocals) and Cory King (drums, vocals), the Asbury Park, NJ-based indie rock quartet The Black Clouds have developed a reputation for a DIY approach to recording and producing their material and for touring — and for a continuing collaboration with the legendary Jack Endino, who has mixed and mastered each of the band’s first two albums. Building on a growing national profile, the band has played at several of the country’s largest festivals including Bamboozle and SXSW, and have opened for the likes of the legendary Mudhoney; in fact, I caught the New Jersey-based band open for Mudhoney when the legendary grunge rock forefathers stopped at The Bell House last year.

The members of the New Jersey-based quartet will be releasing their third full-length effort After All on January 6 and the album, which was recorded at Studio 606 will further continue the band’s collaboration with Jack Endino, who only only recorded, mixed and mastered the album but also produced the album and contributed some guitar on aa few songs. Additionally, Mudhoney’s Mark Arm contributes his imitable vocals to a couple of songs, furthering yet another collaboration with a Seattle grunge rock legend. After All‘s first single “Photograph” is a 1990s-inspired, explosive barn-burner of a song, complete with aggressive power chords, growled vocals and an anthemic hook reminiscent of Foo Fighters, Nirvana and others — all while being rather radio-friendly.

 

 

New Audio: Seattle Supergroup Temple Of The Dog Release Bluesy, Unreleased Demo In Advance of 25th Anniversary of Debut Effort

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of their full-length album and to celebrate the occasion, the album will be re-released on September 30, 2016 in a deluxe package that will feature previously unreleased demos, live material, alternate takes and concert video. And although the members of the Seattle alt rock supergroup have played a handful of legendary shows back in the early 90s and a couple of reunion appearances over the years, this year will also mark the first time that the act has gone out on a headlining tour.

“Black Cat,” was a previously unreleased demo that finally sees the light of day, and as you’ll hear it’s a propulsive and percussive, bluesy dirge that pairs Cornell’s signature wails with grimy blues power chords in a song that manages to channel Led Zeppelin and Soundgarden’s “Spoonman.”

Over the past year or so, it turns out that I’ve written a bit about the indie rock quintet Happy Diving. And although they’ve gone through a number of lineup changes with members currently based in SeattleVancouver and Oakland, the quartet initially formed in the  Bay Area in 2013. Within a short period of time, the quintet developed  reputation regionally for high-energy live shows and for being remarkably prolific. Building on the buzz they’ve received since their formation, the members of the quintet received to write and record the material that would comprise their forthcoming full-length Electric Soul Unity which is slated for an August 19, 2016 through Tophself Records.

Earlier this month, I wrote about “Head Spell,” a slow-burning 90s alt-rock inspired ballad consisting of enormous, buzzing and sludgy power chord and anthemic hook that sounds as though it draws from the likes of PavementDinosaur, Jr. and others — while also firmly adding their names to a growing list of 90s alt rock inspired contemporary acts, including Brooklyn-based trio Dead Stars. The West Coast quintet’s latest single “Don’t Be Afraid of Love” will further cement their burgeoning national profile for crafting sludgy, anthemic, power chord-based pop that would be perfect to mosh to in a small, sweaty club somewhere — with an infectiously upbeat and encouraging message to boot.

The band will be on tour throughout the summer and it’ll include an August 8, 2016 stop at Shea Stadium. Check out the tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES
JUL 23 – Oakland, CA @ The Rat’s Nest
JUL 24 – Santa Rosa, CA @ Arlene Francis Center (w/ Gun Outfit, Tony Molina)
JUL 25 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hi Hat
JUL 26 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
JUL 27 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
JUL 28 – Albuquerque, NM @ Small Engine Gallery
JUL 29 – Oklahoma City, OK @ TBD
JUL 30 – Ft Worth, TX @ Purple Palace
JUL 31 – Houston, TX @ Vinyl Edge Records

AUG 1 – New Orleans, LA @ Saturn Bar
AUG 2 – Nashville, TN @ Two Boots
AUG 4 – Richmond, VA @ TBD
AUG 5 – Raleigh, NC @ Pinhook
AUG 6 – Baltimore, MD @ TBD
AUG 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ Lava Space
AUG 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium (w/ Ovlov, Patio, Peaer)
AUG 10 – Providence, RI @ Tommy’s Place
AUG 11 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott (w/ Kindling, California X)
AUG 12 – Amherst, MA @ TBD
AUG 13 – Montreal, QB @ Poisson Noir
AUG 14 – Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha
AUG 15 – Detroit, MI @ TBD
AUG 16 – Milwaukee, WI @ High Dive
AUG 17 – Bloomington, IN @ Jan’s Rooms
AUG 18 – Eau Claire, WI @ TBD
AUG 19 – Duluth, MN @ Northern Isolation Fest
AUG 20 – Minneapolis, MN @ Dead Media (early show)
AUG 21 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag
AUG 24 – Calgary, AB @ Tubby Dog
AUG 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Antisocial Skate Shop
AUG 27 – Olympia, WA @ TBD
AUG 27 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos (w/ Chastity Belt, So Pitted)
AUG 29 – Portland, OR @ TBD
AUG 30 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill (w/ Creative Adult, Never Young, Plush)

 

 

 

Although they’ve gone through a number of lineup changes and members relocating to various locations up an down the Pacific Coast — with members currently based in Seattle, Vancouver and OaklandHappy Diving is a indie rock quintet that initially formed in the Bay Area back in 2013 and within a short period of time, the quintet developed a reputation regionally for high-energy live shows and for being remarkably prolific. Building on the buzz that they’ve received, the quintet reconvened to write and record the material that would comprise their forthcoming full-length Electric Soul Unity which is slated for an August 19, 2016 through Tophself Records.

“Head Spell,” the latest single off Electric Soul Unity is a slow-burning 90s alt-rock inspired ballad consisting of enormous, buzzing and sludgy power chord and anthemic hook that sounds as though it draws from the likes of Pavement, Dinosaur, Jr. and others — while also firmly adding their names to a growing list of 90s alt rock inspired contemporary acts, including Brooklyn-based trio Dead Stars.

The band will be on tour throughout the summer and it’ll include an August 8, 2016 stop at Shea Stadium. Check out the tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES
JUL 23 – Oakland, CA @ The Rat’s Nest
JUL 24 – Santa Rosa, CA @ Arlene Francis Center (w/ Gun Outfit, Tony Molina)
JUL 25 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hi Hat
JUL 26 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
JUL 27 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
JUL 28 – Albuquerque, NM @ Small Engine Gallery
JUL 29 – Oklahoma City, OK @ TBD
JUL 30 – Ft Worth, TX @ Purple Palace
JUL 31 – Houston, TX @ Vinyl Edge Records

AUG 1 – New Orleans, LA @ Saturn Bar
AUG 2 – Nashville, TN @ Two Boots
AUG 4 – Richmond, VA @ TBD
AUG 5 – Raleigh, NC @ Pinhook
AUG 6 – Baltimore, MD @ TBD
AUG 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ Lava Space
AUG 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium (w/ Ovlov, Patio, Peaer)
AUG 10 – Providence, RI @ Tommy’s Place
AUG 11 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott (w/ Kindling, California X)
AUG 12 – Amherst, MA @ TBD
AUG 13 – Montreal, QB @ Poisson Noir
AUG 14 – Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha
AUG 15 – Detroit, MI @ TBD
AUG 16 – Milwaukee, WI @ High Dive
AUG 17 – Bloomington, IN @ Jan’s Rooms
AUG 18 – Eau Claire, WI @ TBD
AUG 19 – Duluth, MN @ Northern Isolation Fest
AUG 20 – Minneapolis, MN @ Dead Media (early show)
AUG 21 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag
AUG 24 – Calgary, AB @ Tubby Dog
AUG 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Antisocial Skate Shop
AUG 27 – Olympia, WA @ TBD
AUG 27 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos (w/ Chastity Belt, So Pitted)
AUG 29 – Portland, OR @ TBD
AUG 30 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill (w/ Creative Adult, Never Young, Plush)

 

Electric Soul Unity is Happy Diving‘s forthcoming album, out August 19 on Topshelf Records“Head Spell” is the west coast band’s version of a ballad — tender yet loud, the inescapable wall of riffs pummel any shred of sentimentality into a fist-pumping scorcher. The album’s brilliant first single, “Holy Ground” is an onslaught of in-your-face rock.

Formed in the suburbs of San Francisco’s East Bay in 2013, Happy Diving has gained notoriety for their blistering, high-energy performances and prolific release output. Though the band has seen various member and location changes (now with members living in Seattle, Vancouver and Oakland), the five-piece reconvenes this summer for their first ever North American tour, playing shows with Tony MolinaOvlov, California XChastity BeltSo Pitted, and Creative Adult along the way.

 

Currently comprised of Josh Hageman (vocals, guitar), Morgan Travis (guitar), Chris Costalupes (bass) and Gavin Tiemayer (drums), Seattle, WA-based (by way of Reno, NV) band Violent Human System or VHS have developed a reputation for a grainy, abrasive 80s leaning punk  rock sound that’s been compared to the likes of early Killing Joke, Big Black, Christian Death and others — and for eschewing proper studio recordings for home-recorded cassette tapes.

Gift of Life, VHS’ long-awaited, full-length debut slated for a June 17 release  derives its name from Hageman’s personal experience working on the periphery of the medical field. As Hageman explains in press notes the album title “came from some generic blood donation poster I saw in one of the hospitals. It said ‘give the gift of life’ with a photo of a happy family at a park on a sunny day with some pamphlets under it. It was a visual image that stood in stark contrast to the somber surrounding environment. Other songs on the album focus on addiction, the misery and tragedy within the sanitized walls of a modern Western hospital and more — or in other words, the material pulls back the curtain to reveal the rot and grime underneath everything.  The album’s latest single “Public Act” is a tense and abrasive punk/post-punk song that conveys a creeping and uneasy paranoia thanks in part to slashing, angular guitar chords played through reverb and effects pedals, shouted lyrics, anthemic hooks and propulsive drumming.

 

 

 

Comprised of Kristin Henry (vocals) and Brad Boettger (production), Seattle, WA-based  duo NAVVI have developed a reputation for crafting brooding and propulsive electro pop; in fact, the duo have had their work appear on a compilation curated by renowned French electronic label Kitsune, and they’ve received press from a variety of media outlets including NME, Brooklyn Vegan, Impose, The Line of Best Fit and Jay Z’s Life+Times, among others. Building on the early buzz they’ve received, the Seattle-based duo will be releasing their long-awaited full-length debut Omni later this week through Hush Hush Records.

Now earlier this month, I wrote about “Close,” Omni‘s gorgeously minimalist electro pop first single thad the duo pairing Henry’s sultry and intimately with a sleek and hyper-modern production consisting of crisp, yet stuttering drum programming, ambient, swirling electronics, bleeps, bloops and boops, layers of shimmering and buzzing synths. and a propulsive groove while reminding me quite a bit of BRAIDS’ Flourish//Perish and Octo Octa’s Between Both Selves; in other words, the single possess a bracing and icy chill that belies an urgent and swooning Romanticism. Omni‘s second and latest single “What Reason Do We Need?” will further cement the Seattle-based duo’s reputation for crafting chilly and atmospheric electro pop as you’ll hear stuttering and skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, trembling bleeps and bloops and beeps and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Henry’s sultry yet ethereal vocals. Sonically, the song reminds me a bit of Bear in Heaven‘s I Love You It’s Cool but with a plaintive Quiet Storm-like sensuality at its core.

 

New Video: The Glorious, Cosmos-Leaning, New Visuals for Shabazz Palaces’ “Dawn in Luxor”

Shabazz Palace’s latest single “Forerunner Foray” much like “#CAKE” is a single that effortlessly morphs and shifts seemingly at will; however, there’s a subtle trap influence as the song possesses enormous boom-bap beats that pair perfectly with Butler’s ridiculous flow.