Folk music has evolved over the past few years, particularly with the emergence of the indie scene, but it’s refreshing to find a band keeps to it’s roots. Seattle’s King Friday occasionally features a piano in their songs, but that’s as far as they stray in terms of instrumentation from their straightforward acoustic guitar fueled folk pop. Joe Bolton, Matthew Sweeney, and Alex Folkerth use this simplicity of sound to showcase their engaging lyrics, vocal dynamics, and harmonization. Their three albums, including their latest “Let Him at Cake (Songs for Birds)” are available for download here.-Lucy Sherman
Playfully incorporating elements of jazz, folk, classical, rock, and pop, Seattle's Song Sparrow Research achieves harmonic unity through subtlety. Their use of guitars, cello, upright bass, electric bass, synth, glockenspiel, various percussion instruments, and vocals mixes electric with acoustic for a dreamy indie-pop quality. Though this band tackles many different elements and noises, their music is anything but cluttered, each instrument calculated into the song to harmonize with the rest. Song Sparrow Research has their newest, self titled album available online for purchase both digitally and on 12" vinyl. You can catch their next show in Seattle at Cafe Racer on December 29th. -Lucy Sherman
The Blakes released album "Art of Losses" this summer, which blends dreamy pop, electro-tinged rock, moody post-punk and lo-fi guitars mixed with big harmonies. They are now unveiling the video for “Narwhal, the first clip from their recent album, Art of Losses, check it out here - video-less song streaming below.
We've never really been that much into revival music, until we heard Foxygen's "Take the Kids Off Broadway" (which was our Album of the Month in April 2012 - the band graces the cover of our Fall 2012 NYC issue). But is this revival music anyway? To a certain extend, it is, since the NYC/Olympia duo's references to the rock sound of the 60s and 70s are undeniable. But Foxygen's way to unfold songs that constantly evolve from one brilliant melody to another, their imaginative kaleidoscopic DIY production, and Sam France's vocal flair trascend influences to conjure up something that encompasses past and present to become timeless. We were curious to ask these guys some questions about how they record their music - you can find their answers on Delicious Audio.
Tokyoidaho are gearing up for a weekend gig at The Comet Tavern on Saturday the 17th. Soft Hills and Kingdom of the Holy Sun are on the lineup too, with Boat headlining.
This trio's (plus live member Projectorhead bringing the visual oomph) last release was the September full-length Tokyoidaho. Take vocals a little reminiscent of Trent Reznor, throw them in a capsule with haunting guitarwork, rolling drums, and pulsing synths, and one may begin to grip the band's sonic protocol. But only barely.
Opener "Other Places, Other Places" navigates some seriously celestial terrain with its stargazing shoegaze. Warped sounds ebb and flow like a form of echo location as the beat stays steady with ghost-hits to spare.
"Oberheim Sunshine," contrary to its title, presents a darker vista than some of the tracks. The synth-work features more prominently. The singing is earnest and dramatic, revealing uncertainty about the days and nights to come. The song is neither sugar-sweet light or disturbingly morose, occupying a middleground content with curious exploration.
Their experimentation with shoegaze/pop/alternative rock spins routine categorizations through the blender. What plops out on the other end is not found in nature, certaintly. But neither does the music hail exclusively from the deep regions of space. Tokyoidaho's ability to bridge melody and weird aural delights deserves notice.
Check them out live on the 17th of November at The Comet. Tickets cost $8 apiece and the doors are at 8:30pm. Listen to "Oberheim Sunshine" and visit their bandcamp to stream their self-titled record and pick up a physical copy.
Silicon Girls are moving on and playing their very last show this Friday at The Vera Project. Marvelous Good Fortune will join them.
This three piece last issued a record in March 2012; Rana is a rough-and-tumble collection of artful tunes. Their music darts and weaves unpredictably with genuine jubilance. A punkish ethos pervades - they seem to hold no allegiance to any particular sound or structure. Rather than being explicitly about craftsmanship, Silicon Girls charge forth by championing creation, expression and energy.
The drums are rollicking and scatter-brained on "Take Care," a trait that is threaded throughout Rana. Its rhythms lend an incessant surfness to the music. The guitarwork harkens back to early Modest Mouse and other '90's indie rock pioneers. The song is also awash with a kind of drony, hazy film that corroborates the band's idiosyncrasies.
Try out "Shipwrecked," which begins with a simple vocal ode before flowing into a galloping sea shantie. The twang of the guitar and shimmering splashes of cymbals build ebuillient climaxes - listeners are tossed about Silicon Girls' waves in the best ways.
Their music, simply put, is charming and fun. They really sound like they are having a great time and will doubtlessly put it on full display for their last show on Friday, November 9th. Doors are at 7:30pm at The Vera Project with $7 tickets. Give "Shipwrecked" a listen below and check out Silicon Girls' bandcamp to hear all of Rana.
New Lungs are currently working on their second EP which is unnamed at present. Leading up to the late 2012/early 2013 release will be a benefit show at the Redmond Firehouse on Friday, November 30th. The concert features a five-band bill with Fringe Shift, Dear Mister Manager, Postmadonna, and Catalyst all on board too.
This four-piece initially came together in fall of last year. A chemistry quickly clicked between the jammers-turned-bandmates, ironing out enough captivating material to record a three song EP called How to Operate Your Brain in December 2011. Let's get their names and roles in the band out: Wes Gonzalez (guitar/vocals), Antoine Martel (guitar), Nick Emard (bass/vocals), and Rob Granfelt (drums). Together, they form - (take a deep breath now) - New Lungs.
Whew. Before leaping into their stirring sounds, their band geography is worth mentioning. With three of the four members away at university for much of the year, New Lungs spends most of their time thousands of miles apart from one another. It is difficult for many bands to keep a good thing going when they live in the same city limits. And it is likely that some music endeavors spread across such a vast distance would wither from lack of creative cohesion, passion, or talent. Thankfully, New Lungs appear determined to stick it out.
Look no further than their first three recorded songs to see how they exemplify a pastiche of the new and old. As a lyricist, Gonzalez wears his heart on his sleeve, a nod and debt to many exceptional 'emo' (that genre can carry a caustic stigma which is frequently undeserved) bands of the '90's and 2000's. His vocals are well-timed, emotionally-charged, and genuinely drive the music soaring and roaring behind him.
There is no weak entry-point for the band. New Lungs coalesce well as a foursome, as evidenced by their tight, passionate live performances. On their individual instruments they are each capable of introducing the right style of playing for the moment; when to kick up the dynamics, when to let the sounds of silence speak from within the gaps.
How to Operate Your Brain is not without its flaws, although I am not especially interested in dwelling on them. I am interested in the future this band is racing towards. As they continue to notch shows on their belts and dig away at their forthcoming EP, it is exciting to think what kinds of fresh compositions will pour forth from their collective craniums.
Keep eyes and ears tuned in for New Lungs news as the year continues. On the 30th of November they will appear at the Redmond Firehouse. Doors are at 7pm; tickets are $7; 100% of the proceeds go to Village Schools International. Support great bands for an even greater cause. Check out "The Emerald au Pair" below and visit their bandcamp to hear the whole EP. CDs are available for only $4.
White Coward are scheduled to play their finale show this Friday, October 26th with No Babies, Mtns, and Casy and Brian at the Black Lodge.
Their EP Relaxer dropped in April of this year, tagged with vague terms like "kids" and "shred." Upon listening to the record, the aforementioned words actually make a modicum of sense.
First of all, the song "Kids I've Had" grinds and purrs against your ears with a quality of great persistence. I wouldn't mind "running around the neighborhood" (as a line goes) blasting this noisy track. Better yet, it could stand-in as the soundtrack to some demented carnival populated with bizzaro rides and carnees. A whopper of frenzied, disoriententing energy fuels this art punk anthem.
"Gal Pals" possesses a savory don't-give-a-fuck flavor in the same vein as groups like Braniac, The Blood Brothers, and Raking Bombs. They differentiate their noise rock with a taunting snarl instead of slurred speech or venomous screams. The song's locomotive-like grooves rip right through your comfort zone.
A prerequisite for absorbing Relaxer's raw delivery is to listen to it really loudly. If your speakers can't produce enough decibels to tickle your brain with feedback, then go see White Coward live on the 26th of October. Last chance! 9pm start time. Listen to "Gal Pals" below and visit their bandcamp to stream it all and pick your price.
Prism Tats is set to perform at Barboza this Friday, October 19th. Part of the week's City Arts Fest, the set will also feature Howlin Rain, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, and Fox and the Law.
A one-man project, Prism Tats inks out a passionate, minimal aesthetic that shimmers from the first strum. G Vanderkrimp - formerly the singer/guitarist for Seattle band Koko and the Sweetmeats - takes listeners for a fuzzy but spirited ride with his self-proclaimed "future garage trash pop." He has a hodgepodge of songs available to stream currently.
"Death or Fame," forms immediately and eagerly; the sweet-singing guitar stabs mesh well with Vanderkrimp's high-pitched, incandescent vocal style. The simple bass drum beat and supporting electronic effects are subtle and help anchor the snarling wails he breaks into later in the song.
"Lizard Scum" carries on its shoulders a more somber, secluded vibe. The chorus, though, is as melodious and ear-grabbing as many of Seattle's catchiest and inclusive folk bands. Here, the climaxes are always kept on a short leash without exploding into overwrought harmonies. Its armor of fuzzed-out pop has cracks; synthetic echoes and murmurs lurk nearby.
For one further example of 'trash pop' validation, "Vacant & Impatient" is a more straightforward, bluesy number that oozes with aliveness. It is catchy, dark, and urban - and very replayable.
Head over to Barboza on the 19th of October to catch Prism Tats accompanying a good lineup through and through. Tickets are $13 and doors open at 7pm. Listen to "Lizard Scum" below and visit his bandcamp to hear a handful of tracks. Whooping Cranes Records is releasing a debut 7'' on Nov. 20 for $6. Preorder here.