I wrote this brief to preview A Tribe Called Red’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.
Canadian trio A Tribe Called Red brings a unique perspective to dance music, combining hip-hop and electronic music with elements of aboriginal music like chanting and percussion to make “powwow step,” most recently showcased on its latest, Nation II Nation. ATCR also created Electric Powwow, a monthly event featuring indigenous DJs, to further this eclectic sound. With Riz Rollins, J Justice. Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9951, thebarboza.com. 8 p.m. $15 adv. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY
I reviewed the Pharmacy’s Spells for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this review here.
The Pharmacy, Spells (out Aug. 12, Old Flame Records, thepharmacyband.com) Throughout its 12 years, The Pharmacy has experimented with just about every genre, from fuzzed-out punk to alt-rock. Now with Spells, the band’s fifth full-length, the trio wades deeper into the psychedelic waters it dipped into on 2012’s Stoned & Alone. A quick listen, six of Spells ’s 10 songs clock in at less than three minutes. Tracked live with producer Kyle Brunette (Night Beats), there’s a raw yet mellow energy to it. Some songs, like “Anna Bella,” play at a leisurely pace, while tracks like “Masten Lake Lagoon” pick up the tempo. And though the majority of Spells, written in a cabin in Big Sur and recorded in the basement of a used-car museum in Tacoma, is hazy in nature, there are a few surprises throughout—like the doo-wop-influenced vocals on the punky “Cool and Calm.” There’s a relaxed vibe to singer/guitarist Scottie Yoder’s voice, and drummer Brendhan Bowers and keyboardist Stefan Rubicz follow suit, letting the band’s easy rapport shine through.
Next Show: Wed., July 30, Sunset Tavern
I wrote about an incredible Portland-based melodic rock trio called Rags & Ribbons for The Inlander. You can also read this article here.
Searching for Symmetry
For Portland’s Rags & Ribbons, it’s all about balance
By Azaria Podplesky
Portland melodic rock trio Rags & Ribbons takes a measured approach to everything it does.
From incorporating darker elements into its piano-heavy sound to finding the right people to add to its team, the band strives to find middle ground between heavy and light, emotion and business, excitement and intimidation.
Guitarist/vocalist Ben Weyerhaeuser, 29, formed Rags & Ribbons with pianist/vocalist Jon Hicks after they graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. A mix of Sufjan Stevens and synth-pop marked the band’s early years, which Weyerhaeuser calls the “weird, figuring-out stage.”
"Jon really wasn’t too much into harder rock music at the time," Weyerhaeuser says. "And I was just trying to balance out whoever I was working with at that point."
The addition of drummer/vocalist Chris Neff, who has a background in hard rock, added a heavier aspect to R&R’s piano-driven music.
"We started writing and the three pieces came together to make the current sound," Weyerhaeuser says.
Read more …
I wrote this brief to preview Rakim’s upcoming Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.
Twenty-seven years after he debuted with DJ Eric B. on their first full-length, Paid in Full, Rakim, long heralded as one of the most influential MCs of all time, is still a sought-after collaborator. The rapper teamed up with DMX on 2013’s “Don’t Call Me” and has contributed verses to tracks by Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Linkin Park, among many others. With ill Chris, Gifted Gab, Romaro Franceswa. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, neumos.com. 8 p.m. $20 adv. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY
I wrote about an awesome Spokane-based break dancing crew called the Paper Cutout Crew for The Inlander. Huge thank you to Khay for all of her help :) You can also read this story here.
Step by Step
The Paper Cutout Crew wants to introduce Spokane to break dancing - one move at a time
By Azaria Podplesky
You can hear them before you see them. Past balance beams and uneven bars at Spokane Gymnastics, tennis shoes squeak on hardwood floors. Long after typical workout hours, four break dancers practice intricate footwork and tricky spins. Eventually, four more dancers arrive.
This is the Paper Cutout Crew.
For the next hour, the dancers — five PCC members and three breakers visiting with EWU’s Asia University America Program — take turns throwing down a few moves. At various points, a member steps away to work on a move, rejoining the group when they’re ready to try again.
It’s a small but supportive community, one the dancers want to introduce to as many people as possible.
Read more …
I wrote this brief to preview Thunderpussy’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.
Thunderpussy is your new favorite Seattle supergroup. Since late last year, bassist Leah Julius (Cumulus, Sundries), guitarist Whitney Petty (The Grizzled Mighty), vocalist Molly Sides (This Bitch Don’t Fall Off), and drummer Lena Simon (La Luz, Kairos) have been writing rock ’n’ roll jams with a sultry blues twist. This is only the band’s second public show, but, judging by footage from its first, the quartet has the chemistry and stage presence of a group that’s been playing together for years. This show is a fundraiser for Hangin’ Tuff, a wonderfully wacky online music variety show in which host DJ Bobbi Rich, who is also emceeing this event, interviews local bands in, of all places, a hot tub boat. With Lozen, Dusty Lips, Un-Protected Sax. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005, chopsuey.com. 8 p.m. $10. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY
I wrote this brief to preview Wye Oak’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.
The carefully crafted Shriek, the fourth full-length from indie-rock duo Wye Oak, belies the fact that the band traded ideas while singer/guitarist/bassist Jenn Wasner was in the duo’s hometown of Baltimore and drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack split his time between Portland and Marfa, Texas. What’s even more impressive, though, is the shift in sound the pair has accomplished with this album. From 2011’s Civilian to their latest, Wasner and Stack have exchanged guitar-focused jams for a softer take on synth-pop. There’s a dreamy interplay between Wasner’s lush vocals and Stack’s vibrant-yet-hazy keys throughout the album, especially on singles “The Tower” and “Glory.” Shriek’s not as boisterous as its title suggests, but Wye Oak’s rejuvenated sound still makes a statement. With Pattern Is Movement. Neumos. 8 p.m. $18 adv. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY
I wrote this brief to preview 4,000 Holes’ 25th Anniversary Celebration. You can also read this brief here.
Bob Gallagher never thought his record store, 4,000 Holes, would make it this far. Opened in 1989, the store was hit hard by slow music sales in the early aughts and was on the brink of closing. But with a resurgence in vinyl’s popularity over the past few years and older customers introducing their children to the store, 4,000 Holes is now better than ever. To celebrate, Gallagher is holding a 25th anniversary event with music from local alt-country act Cursive Wires and giveaways from labels like Sony and Sub Pop. “I think our future looks good, which, in the past, I wasn’t able to say,” Gallagher says. “It was pretty iffy, but I think we’re going to be around for a long time.” 4000 Holes, 1610 N. Monroe St., 325-1914. Sat., July 12, 11 a.m. -Azaria Podplesky
I wrote this brief to preview Slim’s Cornbread Ball for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.
There’s no shortage of festivals this time of year, but Slim’s Cornbread Ball isn’t your average one. Now in its fifth year, the fest showcases some of the Pacific Northwest’s best Americana and country roots acts. This year, Knut Bell and the Blue Collars, an alt-country quartet that describes its sound as “Honkahillarockabilly,” tops the roster, along with blues-rock duo Dead Man (featuring Slim’s own Mike Lucas) and the Disco Cowboys, an outfit that adds Southern flair to disco hits. Presented by Slim’s with John “Hamhock” Hagan, who will perform with his band The Rooster Run, the ball is a benefit, too—for Childhood Cancer Sucks–The Jakob Ellis Foundation, an organization working on finding a cure and easing the financial burden on families of cancer patients. With Twang Junkies, Hartwood, Earle Thunders and His So-Called Friends, Darci Carlson, Michael Scott Thomas, Tom Howard. Slim’s Last Chance, 5606 First Ave. S., 762-7900, slimslastchance.com. Noon. $15/$12 with new, unwrapped toy. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY
I wrote this brief to preview the Antlers’ Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.
There’s an understated elegance to Familiars, the fifth album from Brooklyn indie-rock trio the Antlers, which makes it both unassuming and breathtaking. The mid-tempo instrumentation, including a wistful trumpet and twinkling keys from multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci, shifts between cinematic and somber, and Peter Silberman’s emotionally charged vocals and lyrics on the theme of identity add to the moody atmosphere. With Yellow Ostrich. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, neumos.com. 8 p.m. $18 adv. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY