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Feature Story- Paper Cutout Crew

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 …

Filed under The Paper Cutout Crew break dancing Spokane killa-khaymera PCC feature writing journalism freelance writing

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Concert Preview- Thunderpussy

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

Filed under Thunderpussy Leah Julius Whitney Petty Molly Sides Lena Simon Seattle Weekly music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing

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Concert Preview- Wye Oak

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

Filed under Wye Oak Shriek The Tower Glory Jenn Wasner Andy Stack Seattle Weekly music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing

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Quick Hit- 4,000 Holes 25th Anniversary Celebration

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

Filed under 4000 Holes 4000 Holes 25th Anniversary Celebration record store The Inlander journalism music journalism music writing freelance writing

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Concert Preview- Slim’s Cornbread Ball

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

Filed under Slim's Cornbread Ball Knut Bell and the Blue Collars Dead Man The Disco Cowboys Twang Junkies Hartwood Earl Thunder and His So-Called Friends Darci Carlson Michael Scott Thomas Tom Howard John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band journalism music journalism music writing freelance writing Seattle Weekly

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Concert Preview- The Antlers

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

Filed under The Antlers Familiars music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing Seattle Weekly

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Concert Preview- Lauryn Hill

I wrote this brief to preview Lauryn Hill’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

Step aside, Mariah; Lauryn Hill is the real elusive chanteuse. Since releasing her critically acclaimed first (and so far only) solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in 1998, the former Fugee has graced the world with more controversy than the handful of singles she’s dropped—most recently 2013’s “Consumerism,” which debuted the night before she left prison after serving three months for tax evasion. Her Tumblr page claims the track is an introduction to a new project, Letters From Exile, which she wrote during her incarceration, but a release date has yet to be announced. The Paramount. 8 p.m. $35 and up. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Consumerisn Letters From Exile journalism music writing music journalism freelance writing Seattle Weekly

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Concert Previews- Pure Bathing Culture, Steely Dan, Kool & the Gang, Dwight Yoakam

I’m late posting these, but I wrote these briefs to preview shows by Pure Bathing Culture, Steely Dan, Kool & the Gang and Dwight Yoakam for Seattle Weekly. You can also read these briefs here.

In the 10 months since Portland-by-way-of-New York indie-pop duo Pure Bathing Culture released its debut full-length, Moon Tides, the album has yet to lose the nostalgic grab that made it so instantly likable. Recorded with Richard Swift (the Shins, Damien Jurado), who also worked on the duo’s self-titled EP, Moon Tides combines Cocteau Twins-esque ’80s pop with the haziness of ’60s psychedelia. But guitarist Daniel Hindman and vocalist/keyboardist Sarah Versprille (both formerly of Vetiver) keep the album firmly rooted in the present with introspective lyrics about self-discovery and spirituality. It sounds like a lot to take in, but Hindman’s bright guitar riffs and Versprille’s crystal-clear voice make such heavy topics easily palatable. With Pure X, M. Geddes Gengras. Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9951, thebarboza.com. 8 p.m. $10 adv. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Steely Dan, the jazz-rock duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, hasn’t released new material since 2003’s Everything Must Go, but that’s not stopping them from touring. This, the Jamalot Ever After tour, finds the pair riding on the strength of still-beloved singles like “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Hey Nineteen.” Through Sunday. With Bobby Broom. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy., Redmond, 205-3661, marymoorconcerts.com. 7:30 p.m. $65 and up. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

With two Grammys, 34 top-10 appearances on the pop and R&B charts, and singles like “Celebration” and “Jungle Boogie,” which everyone from Madonna to Will Smith has sampled, is there anything Kool & the Gang hasn’t accomplished? Well, at least one highlight is still to come: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year. Snoqualmie Casino, Mountain View Plaza, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, 425-888-1234, snocasino.com. 7 p.m. $15 and up. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Country-music legend Dwight Yoakam is a busy man. Besides an illustrious music career, Yoakam is an actor (Sling Blade and Wedding Crashers), a director (South of Heaven, West of Hell), and the owner of his own brand of biscuits. And on top of all that, he somehow found time to release 2012’s delightfully twangy 3 Pears. Snoqualmie Casino. 7 p.m. $25 and up. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Pure Bathing Culture Moon Tides Steely Dan Everything Must Go Kool and the Gang Dwight Yoakam 3 Pears music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing Seattle Weekly

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Concert Previews- Fitz and the Tantrums, Peter Murphy

I wrote these briefs to preview upcoming shows by Fitz and the Tantrums and Peter Murphy for Seattle Weekly. You can also read these briefs here.

Since releasing its sophomore album, More Than Just a Dream, last year, soul-fueled pop sextet Fitz and the Tantrums has ruled the airwaves. For good reason, too; the band has substance to back up its style. Singles “Out of My League” and “The Walker” boast shout-out-loud choruses, spunky vocalists Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, groovy bass lines, and a heavy dose of saxophone. With Max Frost and HOLYCHILD. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444, showboxpresents.com. 9 p.m. $29.99 adv./$35 DOS. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Following 2011’s Ninth, former Bauhaus lead singer Peter Murphy is back with Lion. The album, Murphy’s 10th solo release, plays like a rock opera, with intense orchestral instruments pairing with arena-ready guitar riffs and thundering percussion while Murphy’s baritone weaves a tale that’s both romantic and deeply emotional. Think David Bowie’s performance in Labyrinth, only without the odd Jennifer Connelly plotline. With Ringo Deathstarr. The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxpresents.com. 8 p.m. $22 adv./$25 DOS. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Fitz and the Tantrums More Than Just a Dream Peter Murphy Lion Seattle Weekly journalism music journalism music writing freelance writing

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Feature Story- Vans Warped Tour

I talked with festival founder Kevin Lyman, Saves The Day’s Chris Conley and Yellowcard’s Sean Mackin about 20 years of the Vans Warped Tour for the Oregonian. You can also read this story here.

After 20 years on the road, Warped Tour is still a summer must for music fans

By Azaria Podplesky

Celebrating its 20th year, the Vans Warped Tour is older than much of its audience, something founder/producer Kevin Lyman notes with a laugh.

"It’s a young crowd; I’m just getting older," he says. "But every kid has the same feelings at that age. They want some freedom."

Since 1994, many have found freedom in the musical community Warped creates each summer. The tour, which features more than 100 bands, including Falling In Reverse, Less Than Jake and We The Kings, hits Portland the last Sunday in June.

Warped was, in a way, the product of procrastination. With a newborn at home in 1994, Lyman thought it was time for a “real job” after 12 years in the music business. But before leaving that life behind, he wanted one last punk-rock summer. 

He rounded up a handful of bands, including No Doubt, Sublime and L7, and hit the road. Upon returning to Los Angeles, he realized that a real job wasn’t in his future.

"Some people are destined to find their own way," Lyman said. "I felt I was one of those people."

With that realization, encouragement from bands like Pennywise and NOFX, and support from companies like Vans, Lyman carried on.

Read more …

Filed under Kevin Lyman Chris Conley Saves The Day Sean Mackin Yellowcard Vans Warped Tour journalism The Oregonian music writing music journalism freelance writing