Shows of Note – Progressive Perfection

Mastodon

Although they haven’t produced a full length album since 2011 with The Hunter, Mastodon is still a popular favorite among sludge metal fans. While the word, “metal,” may seem intimidating to those who prefer softer sound, the great thing about Mastodon is that their alternative metal sound make them a great “segue band” for anyone interested in the metal genre.

Mastodon

Mastodon

What fans love about Mastodon, is their ability to move forward and constantly evolve but not in a way that makes them unrecognizable to fans that have been with them since their beginning. The Hunter, was more melodic then past work and rock, metal and even flavors of bluegrass mold to create quite a piece of art.

Mastodon got its start in 1999 and has since released five full length studio albums but they claim 2011′s The Hunter is their best work yet. Guitarist Bill Kelliher had this to say on the album:

“Our last album Crack The Skye, was such a deep, long record,” says Bill. “It was very heavy. We thought let’s make a spontaneous record based off music that comes off our fingertips in the moment. We didn’t over think it—like Hey, we gotta really dazzle the kids! It’s like let’s not over do it. Just let it fall naturally, and we did.”

You can be the judge as to whether Mastodon is performing at their best or not. The band will be in the pacific northwest April 28 at Showbox SoDo in Seattle and April 29 at he Roseland Theater in Portland. Listen tonight (4/16) between 10 and midnight for a chance to win tickets courtesy of Bill James on “Alternative Reality.”

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Throwback Thursday – March 1960

adam clayton

Please join us in saying Happy Birthday to Adam Clayton, who was born on March, 13th of 1960. Now you you might ask Who is Adam Clayton? Well, he is the bassist for one of the worlds biggest bands, U2. Clayton is best known for his bass playing on songs such as “New Year’s Day“, “Seconds“, “Bullet the Blue Sky“, and “With or Without You“.

Adam Clayton

Adam Clayton

As a part of U2, Clayton has won 22 Grammy Awards, and helped pave the way for an entire genre that we now call indie rock. From their humble beginnings as a small high school rock band in Dublin, Ireland, U2 went on to become one of rock music’s premier international bands. U2 has released 12 studio albums and are among the all-time best-selling music artists, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. In 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone has labelled them the “Biggest Band in the World” and throughout their career they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, and the ONE/DATA campaigns.

U2 has inspired people not only with their music, but with their story. As a band they have gone from the bottom of the bottom, to the top of the top. Recently another layer of inspiration has been added with the release of a rejection letter that was sent to U2 Front-man Bono from RSO Records.The letter claims that the bands demo was “not suitable”, but the bad news didn’t keep the band down for long. U2 released its first public work, a three-song EP titled Three, in September 1979 and the rest is history. The band would go on to sign to Island Records and release their debut album Boy in 1980. U2′s story tells us that failure can be a step toward success and is a prime example of why you should never give up on your dream!

Oh and we thought that we should mention that this song also hit #1 on the UK charts, this month in 1987!

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Fresh Tunes – Something Soft, Something Hard

Nothing+band

Close to the Glass
The Notwist

The-Notwist-Close-To-The-Glass-608x608Anyone can make electronic music. Every necessary bit of hardware or software, every bit of knowledge, every tip or trick or tutorial is available to everyone now- and for relatively little money. And with that ubiquity of knowledge and access to all the necessary tools comes a sort of over-saturation, “If everybody knows all the tricks, it’s no more magic” says Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk. So the game has now become one of separation; of being absolutely and totally unique among thousands of new artists. The Notwist has fully realized this shift in the electronic music paradigm and has crafted something that genuinely separates them from other artists with their ninth and newest album.

During the first moments of Close to the Glass, one gets the impression that this could just be another head-nodding rip off of electro from the 90s; an arpeggiated synthesizer texture embellished with random rings and beeps and a skittering snare beat. But then the vocals enter. The voice is untreated: no vocoder, no auto-tune, calmly speaking about hideous signs and something about screaming. There’s some strange subtle terror waiting underneath these tracks, something unexpected or unnoticed, or combination of sounds that shouldn’t theoretically work together when discussed soberly.

And that really is the greatest strength of this album- its ability to defy expectation. “Kong,” the third song, for example, would almost seem completely out of place on this album were it not for its development into an absurd and oddly cohesive mash of orchestral layers, acoustic guitar, electronic glittering, and raucous bass. The marriage of these elements, electronic or otherwise, imbues Close to the Glass with the magic Thomas Bangalter feels is lacking in much of recent music. Anyone can make electronic music- but few can make it like this.

Guilty of Everything
Nothing

a3943802535_10There’s a hot, twisting frustration and rage in those who feel disconnected from or overwhelmed by reality. Everything moves too fast and too slow, there’s nobody to talk to, there isn’t enough time, there’s energy with nowhere to go. “I’m caught between a beggar’s teeth,” sings Domenic Palermo of the band Nothing. The newest album from the Philadelphia quartet seems- to us at least-to be exploration of that frustration with detachment from a world out of time with one’s own rhythm. From this exploration, Nothing has made something dark, loud, and beautiful.

The landscape of each track is very similar; the vocals are treated as a musical instrument fully engulfed by the haze of incredibly loud ambient guitars, bass, and drums. Instead of lyrics that are heard, Palermo’s singing is more of a texture that is felt. It draws one in, trying to decipher the already cryptic lyrics Nothing has buried under heavy, leaden sonic layers. But perhaps that’s the message itself, trying to make sense of something that would be easy were it just a bit different. The themes in Guilty of Everything, then, are embodied by the music itself, a masterful and nuanced act on Nothing’s part.

But despite whatever nuance one discovers in the way Nothing has orchestrated Guilty of Everything, it’s important to remember that this band is loud. The tender, ambient moments give way to hysterical paroxysms of dissonance and consonance. Nothing sounds like they are collectively exorcising whatever demons of the past that may still haunt them. Even in their liner notes the quote, “To all things we’ve ever hated. To all things we’ve ever loved. Thanks for making this possible,” punctuates pages of lyrics juxtaposed with black and white pictures of a prison shower, a junkie spiking his vein, and other-almost ominous- photographs recreating bleary-eyed memories and recollections. We still don’t know entirely what Nothing is trying to tell us, but we are entirely sure it is important.

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Shows of Note – The Boys of Summer

The-Ataris-560x245

With humble beginnings in the basement of one member and dive bars all over the world, The Ataris have eighteen years of experience under their belt and have definitely paid their dues as a punk rock band.

The+Ataris+_With five full-length studio albums under their belt, So Long, Astoria in 2003 was their first platinum album selling over a million copies. The album included “The Boys of Summer,” which was punk rock song even your mom liked.  More recently, the band has released Welcome the Night in 2007 and a two song release in 2010 which has fans dying for more. The two songs released in 2010 will be on The Ataris’ new album. The Ataris’ next album is set to be named “The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” but no official release date has been announced.  The two songs released in 2010 will be on The Ataris’ new album.

The Ataris’ “So Long, Astoria Reunion Tour will mark the first time in a decade the original Ataris line-up will be together. Like most bands, The Ataris have had their share of band members coming and going. The Ataris will perform the whole So Long, Astoria album from start to finish at every show and they claim this is the last time the founding members will perform together.

The Ataris will be coming to the northwest on March 11 at Hawthorne Theatre in Portland, March 12 at The Showbox in Seattle and March 13 at the Knitting Factory in Boise. The ‘Burg is giving away tickets to the Seattle show so be sure to tune-in to the All-Star Rock Show with Chuck Taylor tomorrow (02/24) between 3 and 6 p.m. for a chance to win!

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Throwback Thursday – February 1994

Green+Day+BMT

If Nirvana‘s Nevermind was responsible for effectively killing the age of hair metal with its dynamic hard hitting music and the gravely voice of Kurt Cobain, then Green Day‘s Dookie brought us out of the haze of grunge and over produced pop music. With Dookie, Green Day made punk music commercially acceptable. Dookie flipped the bird to authority and convention while smiling in the frowning face of grunge music. Dookie swept three snot nosed punks off of the streets of Berkley, California and in a wave of youthful rebellion and teenage angst, Dookie inspired a generation and served as a launching pad for one of the most successful bands in the world. This month, the diamond certified album turns twenty and is just as relatable in 2014 as it was in 1994.

2012GreenDayDookie950G211112In 1992, Green Day released Kerplunktheir second studio album through the independent, Lookout! Records. Pop-punk hooks and lyrics caught the attention of Rob Cavallo who was junior A&R scout at Reprise Records. Cavallo signed the band and agreed to produce Dookie. While the punk scene in Berkley disowned them, the rest of America loved Green Day after their legendary performance at Wood Stalk 1994, which was dubbed “Mudstock” after the band started a mud fight with the crowd. Dookie produced five hit singles, won them a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, and to date, has sold over 8 million copies in the United States. With Feb. 1, 2014 marking the 20th anniversary of Dookie’s release we’ve put together a track by track examination of one of punk’s favorite albums.

1. Burnout : Billie Joe Armstrong sings “I declare I don’t care no more”  to open this misfit’s manifesto. It’s the perfect opening line for a major label debut of a post-Nirvana album filled with teenage angst and hormonal rage. It’s a two minute burst of buzzsaw guitar and snotty hooks that sets the tone for the album.

2. Having a Blast: The band keeps the early album energy going here with the angsty “Having a Blast.” Armstrong sings about tying explosives to himself, “think about the times we’ve spent and what they’ve meant” in this breakup rant. Melodic hooks over choppy guitars keeps the edge alive early in the album.

3. Chump “Chump” follows the model laid down by bands like the Ramones and Sex Pistols. “Chump is punchy and likable in its own right, its most memorable moment is probably its closing guitar swells and drum groove. This would lay the ground work  for Dookie’s first big hit.

4. Longview Best known for Mike Dirnt’s infectious walking bass line, this is song where the three Green Day instruments are used in such isolation that the whole band deserves recognition for selling their parts and adding to the eventual buildup. Starting with Dirnt’s Bass lines and Tre Cool’s Slow intense drumming, it’s when Armstrong’s driving power chords kick in, that the song reaches the apex of it’s adolescent rock catchiness.

5. Welcome to Paradise: This was the Only Kerplunk track to be re-recorded for the major label debut. While similar to the three opening tracks, but with a more socially aware hook, this song is a tribute to the band’s humble surroundings and would become Dookie’s second single.

6. Pulling Teeth: Though this song never achieved the “a classic Dookie single” status, “Pulling Teeth” shows off Armstrong’s songwriting skills. With a Beatles-like melody in the verses, as usual, Armstrong is in a distressed state, pledging his allegiance to his girl-friend even though it is obviously an abusive relationship.

7. Basket Case: The distress of “Pulling Teeth” is almost a prelude to Armstrong’s mental torment by covering his anxiety attacks and panic disorder diagnosis. “Basket Case” became one of Dookie’s”biggest hits, with Green Day fans relating and singing along.

8. She The fifth and final single from the album. The band continues whipping out more rapid-fire punk riffs and sneering melodic hooks. Armstrong wrote the song in response to a feminist poem his ex-girlfriend showed him; she then dumped him and moved to Ecuador.

9. Sassafras Roots: With the pop-punk barrage of noise hardly slowing down, Armstrong sings what sounds like a conversation with himself about getting ready to call a crush on the phone. “I’m always like you with nothing else to do; can I waste your time, too?” when in reality, it was written about the same ex-girlfriend that inspired “Chump” and “She.”

10. When I Come Around: If there’s one track that pushes the album from punk rock to straight up rock, its “When I Come Around.” Green Day proved themselves to classic rock fans and it’s no surprise this song is still heard on rock radio. “When I Come Around” showed Greenday’s rock aspirations for the first time.

11. Coming Clean: In one of the record’s often forgotten songs, Armstrong offers some of his most confessional lyrics, opening up about questioning his sexuality: “I’ve found out what it takes to be a man; now mom and dad will never understand what’s happening to me.”

12. Emenius Sleepus : This song continues the trend of brief, less-than-two-minute tracks. “Emenius Sleepus” helps close out the album a tale about an old friend that comes off a tad underwritten compared to other cuts. Although “Emenius Sleepus” is the only song on the album with lyrics written by bassist Mike Dirnt.

13. In the End: Another brief melodic song, at this point, the album reverts to a more familiar flow for a punk album with a heavy Operation Ivy feel that inspired Green Day in the first place. But even when operating with less than two minutes, the band preserves the classic verse/chorus/bridge pop structure.

14. F.O.D. : While it’s not quite Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”  Green Day closes the album of charged-up punk songs with an acoustic guitar. Well, until the electric guitars ruin the whole wet dream right around the minute and a half mark. The title stands for “f&*# off and die” with Armstrong sending a literal good riddance.

15. All By Myself (hidden track): If you made it through the silence after “F.O.D.” you will find this hidden track, written and sung by Tré Cool. It was sadly or happily, (depending on how you feel about songs sung by drummers about masturbation) his last major vocal contribution to Green Day.

Take some time to listen to an album that revolutionized the music industry and the minds of America’s youth.

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Shows of Note – Head of State

The+Presidents+of+the+United+States+of+America (1)

With perhaps the most annoying name in rock history, The Presidents of the United States of America, certainly don’t make annoying music. Most famous for the catchy “Peaches,” the band is also behind the “Lump,” “Cleveland Rocks,” and an awesome cover of “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

PUSA

PUSA

The band is known for their awesome live shows, and have a 4.6 out of 5 rating on Ticketmaster. The band claims that they make “silly music” and one of their career highlights was having Weird Al Yankovic parody “Lump,” into “Grump.”  Front Man Chris Ballew had this to say about the honor in an interview with Noisetrade.com.

“…it is an incredible experience to see Weird Al pretend to be me! The best thing that’s come out of that is that we are still friends. He’s a great guy and a really good listener and storyteller.”

Weird Al would go on to direct a music video for PUSA and has guested at a few of PUSA’s live shows.

PUSA will be playing in  the northwest Feb. 14 at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Feb. 15 at The Showbox in Seattle  and Feb. 16 at The Triple Door in Seattle. The ‘Burg will be giving away tickets to The Showbox show so be sure to tune-in to The Wake-Up Call tomorrow (02/06) between 6 and 8 a.m. for a chance to win tickets!

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Shows of Note – Weird Name, Good Music

toad-the-wet-sprocket

Sometimes bands deserve to be one-hit wonders, and sometimes we’re just left confused because they were actually pretty good! This is the case with Toad the Wet Sprocket. Known for their 1991 hit “All I Want,” we never heard much of the band on mainstream radio stations after that. Even though they weren’t on the radio, Toad the Wet Sprocket has kept busy producing 5 studio albums since the release of Fear in 1991, though their hay-day was definitely in the ’90s.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s discography includes a live album and a greatest hits album. Their most recent full-length album, New Constellation dropped in October of 2013 and they have since followed it with a radio edit release of the album’s single “The Moment.”

Monty Python’s Eric Idle created the fictional band “Toad the Wet Sprocket” for the program “Rutland Weekend Television” in 1975. The name was a joke and Idle never thought it would actually be used for a real band. Following a break up in 1998, Toad the Wet Sprocket is once again in lights, and the “silly  name” is still raising eyebrows. Armed with a throng of loyal fans, mostly nostalgic ’90s kids, the band promises to put on a great live show.

Toad the Wet Sprocket will be performing in the northwest on Feb. 3 at Wow Hall in Eugene, Oregon, Feb. 5 at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon, Aladdin Theatre in Portland on Feb. 6, The Bing Crosby Theatre in Spokane on Feb. 7 and Showbox at the Market in Seattle on Feb. 8. We’re giving away tickets to the Seattle show tonight (1/28) between 8 and 10 p.m. so be sure to listen for a chance at a pair of tickets to one of the iconic bands of the ’90s!

 

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Shows of Note – The (Local) Lonely Forest

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With artists like Common Market, Blue Scholars and Macklemore making a name for Washington hip hop, sometimes we forget that Seattle and the rest of the evergreen state has produced some pretty awesome alternative acts as well.

The Lonely Forest

The Lonely Forest

The Lonely Forest hail from Anacortes, Wash. Forming around 2005, the band won the Experience Music Project competition in 2006 and has been steadily moving forward ever since.  The Lonely Forest released its first album Nuclear Winter in 2007. We Sing the Body Electric! followed in 2009 but it wasn’t until Arrows in 2011 that the band really started getting attention with the album’s single “We Sing in Time.” Arrows followed a Sasquatch Music Festival Appearance in 2010.

Adding Up the Wasted Hours is the group’s fourth full length studio album and dropped October 15 of this year. The album has clear indie-pop influences with the introduction of synthesizers, pop beats and light vocals. It’s no surprise The Lonely Forest lists Two Door Cinema Club and Minus the Bear as influences on their Facebook page. The album as a whole has striking similarity to Death Cab for Cutie both in instrumentation and vocal stylings. Perhaps The Lonely Forest can one day be an opener for their fellow Washington band.

You can catch the band perform in the Pacific Northwest, November 8 at Bunk Bar in Portland and/or in Seattle at The Neptune Theatre, November 9. The ‘Burg is giving away one pair of tickets to the Seattle show today (11/4) between 3 and 6 p.m on Snap. Crackle. Rock. with Rice Krispy so tune-in for a chance to win!

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Local Happenings – Rodeo Tunes

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Most students know the Ellensburg Rodeo exists but a lot of us don’t know much more than that. The Ellensbrug rodeo is more than just a “rodeo.” Aside from being named one of the top 10 rodeos in America, rodeo weekend includes a fair, parade, hoe down and more. The history of the rodeo dates back to the year 1923 and is now the final stop of the Wrangler Million Dollar Gold Tour and hosts the World Finale of PRCA’s Extreme Bulls Tour. Today the rodeo features over 600 contestants and prize money exceeding $400,000. More about the “down and dirty” of the Ellensburg Rodeo is featured on an episode of Central Scoop currently on-air.  Ellensburg Rodeo

The Kittitas County Fair opened today and features the usual rides, animals and fattening foods. The fair closes at 10 p.m. everyday with the exception of Sunday, when it closes at 6 p.m.

Music will play a large role in the rode weekend festivities. The music will start tonight at 8 p.m. with the Hoedown in the Downtown at the Rotary Pavilion. This event will feature opening act Better Day and feature act The Dusty 45s. Hosted by the Ellensburg Downtown Association, this is an all ages event with pizza provided by Pizza Rita and a beer and wine garden available for those of age. The concert is free and all are welcome.

The Dusty 45s

The Dusty 45s

The Dusty 45s is a group that is well known in the Ellensburg area, but also has a statewide presence. The group has performed at venues such as the Showbox, Triple Door and current tour dates include shows in Massachusetts, and the band has opened for grammy award winning artist Adele. Their music image can be described as a mix of honky tonk, jump blues and rock and roll. Blending electric guitars, upright bass, drums, and trumpet makes for a sound not often found in today’s popular music scene.

The Dusty 45s won’t be the only music featured this rodeo weekend. Visit ellensburgrodeo.com for a full rodeo schedule of all the exciting events going on this weekend.

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Must Have Shows

Two Door Cinema Club

Attending a good concert can change your life, change your music taste or just be an awesome night with friends you will never forget. Fortunately, the northwest does not disappoint when it comes to awesome shows. With venues like the Tacoma Dome, the Gorge Amphitheatre or smaller venues such as El Corazon, you are sure to find your concert niche whether you prefer  large venues or intimate ones.

Ticket sales started last week for the Cherry Poppin Daddies, The Naked and Famous and Carly Rae Jepsen. Those though shows are sure to be great, we are counting down the days till ticket sales go on sale for a couple other concerts this week.

 

James Blake

James Blake

James Blake is yet another British import we are more than happy to have in the U.S. Blake’s latest album Overgrown, is his second full-length album following his 2011 self-titled debut. A little more dramatic than his last album, Overgrown walks on the line between spectacular and ground breaking and mind-numbing. Blake’s roots are in dubstep, but he has become the poster child for experimental electronic music. Overgrown is what would happen if someone told Maxwell or Aaron Neville to make an electronic album. The title of the album was influenced by the Emily Dickinson poem “All Overgrown by Cunning Moss.”  The sentiments of the poem are a huge part of Blake’s album. Since his last album he has met his girlfriend and fallen in love, which also played a role in the way his new album developed.  Blake will be playing at Showbox SoDo on November 20; tickets went on sale last Friday (5/31).

 

Eagles

Eagles

Their Greatest Hits album is the number seven best-selling album of all making the Eagles one of the best-selling bands of all time. This is why we are stoked they will be performing at the Key Arena on Sept. 4 of this year. Their “History of the Eagles” tour kicks off in Kentucky in early July and will finish in St. Louis, Oct. 24. The Eagles album The Studio Albums 1972-1979 is available on iTunes for a pretty $50 but is a collection of six remastered albums from the ‘70s era. The Eagles are legendary so we don’t have to explain why we’re pumped for the tickets to go on sale. Just be sure you buy ‘em quick because they’re bound to sell quickly. Tickets went on sale last Monday (June 3).

Two Door Cinema Club

Two Door Cinema Club

From the Emerald Isle, Two Door Cinema Club exploded onto the scene with their 2010 release of Tourist History which included hit songs “Something Good Can Work” and “What You Know.” The debut album was followed by last year’s Beacon which continued the band’s signature electro-alternative sound. The band was named Two Door Cinema Club when Sam Halliday, the band’s guitarist mispronounced the name of a cinema call Tudor Cinema. The trio will be playing at the Neptune Theatre Oct. 26. Tickets went on sale last week for the show and guesses are it will sell out.

These fall shows will sell out fast so be sure and get your tickets soon! Keep checking our blog for updates on when tickets go on sale and what shows you can’t afford to miss.

 

 

 

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