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More about Capsula

More about Capsula

You few regular visitors out there must have noticed that the site has been down for extended periods during the past few weeks. Well it’s up now, so I am putting up a couple of photos from their show at The Sunset Tavern.

Here’s one of Martin setting up his array of switches and peddles that he uses to great effect during the shows.

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And here’s one of all three of them (mostly Martin).

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And this is how the show ends in a blaze of distorted harmonic feedback loops.

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The Sunset has one of the darkest stages in the city, so it’s difficult (for me anyway) to get shots in focus, so I did resort to using a flash for quite a few photos, but most of those didn’t turn out because of all the backs of heads in front of me that turned bright white when the flash fired. Oh well… There are better photos out there. Capsula posted some on their Facebook page taken by Sandra Cox that are worthy.

And they were selling their new live album, Dead or Alive, at the show for $10. For more about the importance of it and why you should buy it,  as usual I direct you to Tulip Frenzy.

Capsula returns to Seattle to Play at The Sunset Tavern in Ballard on Friday, February 13th

Capsula returns to Seattle to Play at The Sunset Tavern in Ballard on Friday, February 13th

Something good has to happen to you this Friday the 13th, right? You can make good happen by going to the Sunset Tavern to see the best Rock n’ Roll band in the world perform in a very intimate setting.

I got hooked on Capsula the first time I heard KEXP play a track off their 2009 album, Rising Mountains. Since then I’ve seen them play during CityArts Fest at The Comet, a free KEXP summer show at the Mural Amphitheater, The Triple Door, and at El Corazon (perhaps my least favorite venue in Seattle), so I am very glad to see them play a show in a great club in my own neighborhood this Friday. You should be too. Buy a ticket, take the ride. If you don’t, bad things might happen to you.

For those of you reading who don’t know about this band, here’s a video of them singing “Mejor No Hablar de Ciertas Cosas” (it translates to The Porcelain Horse) at a venue in what is now their home town; Bilbao, Spain.

That’s one they do in Spanish. Almost all the songs they do in the states are in English, so don’t let that get to you. It’s a great rock n’ roll song!

Anyway, if you want to know more about their sound, read about them on Tulip Frenzy.

The Best Music of 2014

The Best Music of 2014

The album I listened to the most this year is the number one album of 2014: Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire for No Witness. The song that first caught my attention was “Hi Five”. After hearing it I immediately went out and bought the album. It has several great songs in styles ranging from pop rock to the very quiet, beautifully sung, intimate rumination, “Windows”, a song Pitchfork wrote off as an “indistinct closer”. I like it, so here’s the video.

The second best album of 2014 is Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else. I didn’t know about Lydia when her album Indestructible Machine came out in 2011, otherwise it would have been on my 2011 list. Anyway, here’s a live recording of the title track to this year’s album.

Number three is Sharon Van Etten – Are We There. Sharon has one of the most powerful voices in music, and she shows it off quite well in this song.

Number four is the third in a series of The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project titled Axels & Sockets. It’s a collective of many of my favorite musicians including Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, Lydia Lunch, Warren Ellis, Mick Harvey, Kid Congo Powers, Iggy Pop, Mark Stewart, Thurston Moore, Jim Sclavunos, Primal Scream, Cyprus Grove, Ruby Throat, and Andrew Weatherall. They all work together to interpret the songs of the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce. I find myself listening to it all the time. Here’s a video for “Constant Limbo”.

Number Five is Thurston Moore – The Best Day. It’s like a really great Sonic Youth album, except there’s no Kim Gordon. Here’s the title track recorded live at KEXP.

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KEXP Listeners’ Top 12 Artists of All Time

KEXP Listeners’ Top 12 Artists of All Time

KEXP completed its fall pledge drive yesterday, and during the week-long drive they counted down the top 437 artists of all time as voted on by listeners. Listeners had until September 19th to cast their votes for their top twelve. I’m not sure why the final list was 437. It could be that’s the total number of different artists that were chosen by listeners, or maybe it was an air-time issue – the number of songs they could get through during the daytime pledge-drive hours. (Anybody at KEXP reading this who knows why the list was 437?)

I listened to the station during my drives to and from work during the week, and I must say the banter from Kevin Cole, Troy Nelson, and Tilly (?) during the afternoon show was pretty entertaining. I especially liked Troy’s “80’s scream”. Just thinking about trying to imitate it makes my throat hurt.

Anyway, here’s the top twelve as voted on by listeners:

1 The Beatles
2 Radiohead
3 Led Zeppelin
4 The Clash
5 Nirvana
6 Pixies
7 David Bowie
8 Bob Dylan
9 The Rolling Stones
10 Neil Young
11 R.E.M.
12 Pink Floyd

I get that a lot of people of all generations like The Beatles, and the band has had a long time to grow a fan base, but I would have flipped The Rolling Stones’ spot for The Beatles’ spot. I listen to the Stones pretty often – mostly the late sixties through mid-seventies era, and those albums still sound pretty fresh to me. As for The Beatles, I listen to them once and a while, but I’ve grown tired of them.

No surprise that Radiohead placed high on the chart, because they used to win the album-of-the-year polls every time they put out a record. Led Zeppelin ahead of The Clash? Come on! Nirvana snuck in as the only American band in the top five.

Here’s my list from a couple weeks ago with corresponding KEXP rankings:

1 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (59 – not bad, but someday the rest of you will come around.)
2 Patti Smith (67 – really? Have you seen her live?)
3 Tom Waits (35 – but he had ten albums on their list of top 903 albums of all time.)
4 Johnny Cash (13 – about where I would expect.)
5 P.J. Harvey (56 – she deserves much better than this.)
6 The Clash (4)
7 Bob Dylan (8)
8 Bruce Springsteen (43 – he’s better than this, but not a surprising ranking for KEXP)
9 The Rolling Stones (9)
10 Nirvana (4)
11 X (85 – really? John Fuckin’ Doe? Listen to their first four albums again.)
12 Bob Marley (32 – perhaps his ranking will rise now that we can buy pot legally in this state.)

But what about Sufjan Stevens? I had a beef with fellow listeners after the Top 903 albums of all time poll. His Come on Feel the Illinois ranked #15 in that one – way ahead of much more worthy albums. For this poll he came in 89th. His star has faded because he hasn’t really done anything since.

Nothing else too surprising about the results. What do you all think?

U2 and Apple hijacked my iTunes

U2 and Apple hijacked my iTunes

During lunch today I went to Easy Street Records in West Seattle and bought the new tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 album, Born in the USA, titled Dead Man’s Town (more about this in a future post). When I got back to my computer I went to Pitchfork to look for a review of the album. They didn’t have one up yet, so I clicked on their review for U2’s new free album, Songs of Innocence and read this:

Time was, the recipe for a superstar artist to create a Big Event Album was well known—a few teaser ads in the music mags, a lead single for radio, some late-night talk show appearances, then sit back and watch the fans line up at the record store on release day. But now that basically every entity in that sentence has been culturally marginalized, and the propeller churn of social media refuses to tolerate slow-burn marketing, the best—and, perhaps, only—way to get everyone talking about your record at once is to release it with no warning. U2 being U2, they’ve taken that strategy one step over the line into indisputably queasy territory, aligning with their old friends Apple to insert their new album, Songs of Innocence, into all of our libraries without consent. By updating the old Columbia House Record Club scam to the digital age, U2 and their Cupertino buddies have created a new avenue of opt-out cultural transmission, removing even the miniscule effort it takes to go to a website and click “Download.”

Huh?

I immediately picked up my iPhone and opened iTunes to see if the new U2 album was there. It was.

Apple and U2 pushed the album to my iTunes and didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted it? They can do that? Well of course they can, but they actually thought about it and decided it was a good thing to push albums on to everyone’s devices with no opt out?

I hardly ever listen to music on my phone because I haven’t heard an MP3 file yet that was worthy of listening. The sound quality is terrible, and I can only stand listening to them in a pinch like when I’m on an airplane, on a bus, or stuck in a snowstorm somewhere without access to quality music. (Read all about it in this Guardian article if you are interested). But I digress…

The point is I don’t put very much music on my iPhone. I think I might have around 30 albums on it, but they are 30 very carefully chosen albums that I know I would enjoy listening to at any time anywhere. My 30 desert-island discs. But now there’s an album on my phone that I’ve never even listened to. I’ve only heard part of one song on a TV ad for the new album. I might not ever listen to it on my phone because MP3. Why would I? The Pitchfork review wasn’t very good – they gave it a numerical rating of 4.2 out of 10.

I think U2 and Apple have crossed a line with their brash decision to force an album onto users of Apple devices without notice and without an option to decline. Most people aren’t going to like this move no matter how much they might like their Apple products or U2.

Who are your top 12 musical artists of all time – KEXP wants to know

Who are your top 12 musical artists of all time – KEXP wants to know

KEXP is gearing up for it’s fall pledge drive, and this time it’s asking listeners to vote on their top twelve artists of all time. They will be counting down through the list of top artists during their pledge drive that begins September 26th.

These listener polls never turn out the way I would like them to, and sometimes they are so far off the mark I wonder if all the other listeners are even listening to the same radio station.

That said, here is my list of top twelve for you all to review and critique at your leisure.

The top six that should be on everyone’s list:

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Patti Smith

Tom Waits

Johnny Cash

P.J. Harvey

The Clash

The next tier of six

Bob Dylan

Bruce Springsteen

The Rolling Stones

Nirvana

X

Bob Marley

That makes twelve, but if I could vote for more, I’d choose:

Neil Young

Prince

Jimi Hendrix

Mark Lanegan

Public Enemy

Hank Williams, Sr.

Elvis Costello

Sonic Youth

That’s twenty. I could go on, but I won’t.

So keep these artists in mind (especially the top 6, because they belong at the top) when you go to KEXP to cast your votes.

You have until 6:00 p.m. this Friday, so don’t delay. Vote now!
Check back when the pledge drive ends on October 3rd to see who the listeners picked.

Valerie June at Bumbershoot 2014

Valerie June at Bumbershoot 2014

Valerie June played Bumbershoot today and told the audience some things about the songs she played. Here she is telling us about the title track to her 2013 album, Pushin’ Against a Stone.

Valerie June - Pushin'

And here are some more shots of her performance at the Mural Amphitheater.

Valerie June Mural 1

Valerie June full shot

Valerie June Mural 2

All photos take with a Sony NEX-5 with using a 55mm – 210mm zoom, loaded here as 50% of actual size. Click on photos to embiggen.

The Replacements at Bumbershoot 2014

The Replacements at Bumbershoot 2014

The Replacements were my favorite band back in the eighties. Paul Westerberg wrote great rock ‘n roll lyrics, and the band was loose and wild. You never knew what to expect from them. They could be sloppy drunk, they could decide to shave their eyebrows… Buy one thing you knew was they would play at deafening volumes. I blame them for much of my hearing loss.

They recently reformed with original members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson on bass. They’ve added Dave Minehan on guitar taking over Slim Dunlap’s role, and Josh Freese on drums taking over Chris Mars’ role.

They don’t do a lot of shows, so we in Seattle should consider ourselves lucky that they performed at Bumbershoot yesterday. I’ve been to hundreds of shows at Bumbershoot, and I have to say that their performance yesterday was the best Bumbershoot show I’ve ever seen.

Here are the photos – all taken with a Sony NEX-5 using a 55mm – 210mm zoom. (50% resolution for this post. Click on them to embiggen)

Paul Westerberg and Josh Freese

Tommy Stinson

Paul Westerberg

Paul Westerberg up front

Dave Minehan

Paul the Blues Harp Player

Westerberg and Minehan - encore

And here is the setlist via When You Motor Away.

Favorite Thing
Takin a Ride
I’m in Trouble
Don’t Ask Why
I’ll Be You
Valentine
Waitress in the Sky
Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out / Third Stone From the Sun
Take Me Down to the Hospital
I Want You Back
Nowhere Is My Home
Color Me Impressed
Achin’ To Be
Kiss Me on the Bus
Androgynous
I Will Dare
Love You in the Fall (Westerberg solo song)
White and Lazy
Love You Till Friday/Maybellene
Can’t Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Encore:
Left Of The Dial
Alex Chilton