Saturday, September 27, 2008

5 days

until i will be in LA seeing the swell season. i'm excited, but that goes without saying. i've been following their setlists as closely as i can and it seems like they're mixing stuff up a little bit more and playing a few more frames songs every night. i think my chances of seeing red chord, people all get ready and, perhaps, 7 day mile (i can hope, right?) have just increased.

since the swell season are touring (i do this when pearl jam and the frames are touring, too), one of my daily routines is to look online for reviews/videos/pictures of their shows. this video is, i think, from one of their concerts in the czech republic this summer, and it is one of my favorite frames songs.

i met some people from work today for lunch and a movie at SIFF (seattle international film festival) cinema, and, as i walked through the seattle center on a gorgeous fall day, i thought about how much i love this time of year. the air was warm but not hot and it had that edge of crispness to it. cool enough for a sweater but still sunny enough for sunglasses. in my last post, i wondered what it was about certain bands/songs that make my heart stop and that i keep wanting to go back to over and over until i know them so well that i can close my eyes and sing along without concentrating or missing a beat. well, i think that it is close to the feeling i had walking outside today. for a while, everything is alright and all you want to do is wrap yourself up in life.

i also accomplished one of my goals for the weekend today - buying the new blitzen trapper album. i'm in the middle of listening to it right now, so i can't write a review yet, but so far i am really liking it. they played a bunch of the new songs at bumbershoot, and i'm actually glad i have heard most of the songs live before hearing the album. buy it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

you're every now and then on my mind

i'm going to LA in 13 days to see the swell season! the way it usually goes when i'm traveling to see a concert: i get excited when (usually months ahead of time) i buy the tickets, my interest wanes in the ensuing weeks, and i start to get giddy with anticipation again about two weeks (give or take a few days) before the show. or, in the swell season's case, when they start their fall tour. i swear, the frames are one of my favorite bands and i CANNOT WAIT for a new album from them , but the news that glen and marketa are recording together is incredibly awesome. after watching the videos on youtube from their shows in new york, boston and toronto, i have again remembered that magic that they have on stage together. these pictures are especially awesome.

as is this video of a new song from a concert in northampton, ma last month:

i almost want to watch once again. who knew that going to see that film at the seattle film festival in 07 would start such a wonderful love affair with the frames/swell season (swell frames, perhaps?) out of all the music that we hear every day, what is it about certain bands that stops you dead in your tracks?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

hey, let's cross the sea and get some culture

to the person that took my ring from the bathroom at the university village on friday: you suck. you could have turned it into lost and found, but i guess you decided to keep something that didn't belong to you. not that you'll ever read this. but still.

here's a cool video:

and this completes the trifecta of awesomest bands that megan saw at bumbershoot. it is the whigs performing on letterman. i had heard a few things about this band, but had never listened to their music and so decided to check them out. i found a spot down near the front of the stage. one of the guys in the band brought someone a cup of beer before the show and the stage manager (i don't know what you call those people. roadies? person who stands around pretending they're important?) took her beer and poured it into a starbucks cup and handed it back to her with the lid on it. so i spent the first song or two contemplating the nastiness of drinking beer through the hole on the top of that lid. yuck.

once i was able to get into the music, i really enjoyed myself. the whigs are, i suppose, nothing terribly original, although i am no longer sure that's a bad thing to say about a band. after their performance, i walked over to the cd-buying tent, and i noticed that rolling stone had apparently written that they are "a band to watch." whatever that means. i got their record, mission control, the other weekend at easy street (in a particularly good shopping trip - i found a used copy of the gutter twins, a used copy of no code to replace the one that was eaten by my pearl jam eating monster, blitzen trapper, and two minus the bear cd's) and i have since listened to it over 5 times. which is a lot for me, because, although i adore music, i rarely have the attention span these days to sit through an entire record.

i love the way the singer (whose name, by the way, is parker. i love when singers in rock bands have preppy-sounding names. hamilton from the walkmen is another one) jumps around while he's playing. i was telling someone the other day about my new fascination with watching singer's feet. i think that it started with glen hansard, because his foot stomping is such an integral part of the frames/swell season (i give up.. i'm just going to call them the frames season from now on).

speaking of the frames season (ha! it has a ring to it), i will be seeing them in 20 days! yippee! some lady emailed me today to ask if i thought the swell season would be appropriate for a 10 year old. first of all, i love it when someone emails me because it means that someone, somewhere is reading what i write. second of all, her email got me excited about my upcoming concert adventure. third of all, i think she's a very cool mother for taking her child to see glen and marketa.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

red wine with every meal

god, i love this song:

absinthe party at the fly honey warehouse

after a careful scientific study, i believe this is the best video of this song on youtube.

i have officially become obsessed with minus the bear. i bought two of their albums at easy street yesterday - their newest, planet of ice and also highly refined pirates, which i think is their first one (?) i have been listening to them nonstop since. i am slightly in love.

hey let's cross the sea
and get some culture.
red wine with every meal
and absinthe after dinner.
we'd look good side by side.
walking back to the hotel.

over the past week, i've been reading some reviews and interviews with the band, and over and over again, they are referred to as "prog rock." that didn't mean anything to me - well that's not true; for some reason, that word made me think of danzig and their song mother mother that i hated when i was in high school - until i googled it and found that "prog" is short for "progressive." ah, that makes a little more sense. in fact, there was one song at bumbershoot - that i now know is called thanks for the killer game of crisco twister - where i thought the drummer was messing up the beat and playing faster than the rest of the group, but after a few moments i decided that he was doing that on purpose. i've also seen them described as "math rock," which also means nothing to me, but i guess may have to do with the fact that they use a keyboard and that their songs do not necessarily follow a conventional structure. which is what i find interesting.

i also find it interesting that many of jake snider's lyrics are about 1) women and 2) drinking. but they're also really endearing (see above) so i can't hold that against him.

also: i booked a hotel room for LA. i'm excited to see glen and marketa again! yay! 27 days. yes, i'm counting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

minus the bear, or let's drink all night.

the best completely new-to-me band that i saw at bumbershoot was definitely minus the bear. i don't know how i have never heard of them before (maybe i've been living under a rock?), but i will definitely remedy that quickly.

with most of my favorite bands, love has been instantaneous. i can remember seeing pearl jam on the 92 mtv music awards and feeling the need to immediately run out and buy ten. likewise, i bought all of the frames albums after the first time i saw them live. there is something about seeing some bands that can be magical - it's like all the stars collide, and for an hour or so, everything in the world is perfect. does that make sense to anyone?

i don't think it's exaggerating to say that that's the feeling i felt when i saw this band close bumbershoot on monday. i judge concerts primarily based on the question of whether or not i am able to enjoy the music and forget about all my other worries. after about the third song or so by minus the bear, i was definitely in that state of mind. plus, there is something awesome about hearing live music outside - i think that the notes float through the air and gain even more power before they hit your ears.

watch the drummer during this video. there's a moment at about 2:00 that i think is close to complete sonic perfection, and almost makes me want to cry. yeah, jake snider's voice is not too terribly different from most other rock singers, and i can't tell what the heck he's singing about (something about a girl with gorgeous hands smoking a cigarette, i think), but i guess i have a weakness for this kind of music. and the lead guitarist is wonderful. i am discovering more and more that i love watching musicians perform. i used to be happy just standing in the back where i couldn't see anything (and i still am! i'd stand on the ceiling with my eyes closed for pearl jam, for instance), but i think it's since i moved to seattle and got used to seeing shows at small clubs that i really developed this fascination with watching bands up close. and no matter how many years i live here or how many times i go to bumbershoot, i will never get tired of seeing a show at night under the space needle.

they're playing november 22 at the showbox. yipee!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

i still dream of running careless through the snow..

i think that what i am loving most about blitzen trapper is that they cannot be categorized. are they country? are they rock? are they that word that i hate, "alt-country"? garage rock? experimental? who knows, and does it even really matter? i think the reason i can't stand to listen to the radio (KEXP excluded, for the most part) is that so many of the songs sound alike. i'm not interested in hearing the 90s again ad nauseum.

this band has a crazy number of musicians. i think i counted 3 guitarists and at least two keyboard players. and at the risk of sounding like a fan girl (which i'm not! i swear!) i think i am a little bit in love with the lead singer. i can't believe i just wrote that...

they released their first few albums independently, and then got signed by sub pop (hence their appearance at the 20th anniversary festival), and their new album will be out later this month. i think that the songs that they said were new ones sounded a little bit mellower and less obviously rock oriented. one of the songs on the album, furr, is on the free compilation sub pop gave out for their birthday.

oh, and they're from portland. i hope they come back here soon. aside from great music, they were a whole lot of fun to watch. a lot of their songs were suited to clapping along (but NOT in an annoying way), and don't you just have to love a guitar player who plays an enthusiastic cow bell for one of the songs? after seeing them in july, i put their last album, wild mountain nation, on my ipod and i listen to it most days on my way to work, and the songs can't help but put a smile on my face. i don't know if it's the singer's voice, or the lyrics, or the music itself - or probably a combination of all three..

wild mountain nation. they are, literally, a wall of guitars. awesome. and i love the singer's hand motions. does the beginning of this song make anyone else want to sing, signs, signs everywhere there's signs.... what song is that even from??

country caravan.

p.s... here are my bumbershoot pictures. you can tell what bands i liked because i have the most pictures of them (minus the bear, the whigs, tapes n tapes). i would have more of blitzen trapper, but my camera batteries died. i will never buy walgreens brand again.

Monday, September 1, 2008

this band will change your life x2

i will upload all my pictures of bumbershoot (and i have a lot! i think i have found a new hobby - taking concert pictures. i may suck at it, but hey.. it's fun) during the week, but for now suffice it to say that i have had the best weekend in a long time. i have been going to bumbershoot since i moved to washington in 2002, and i can never remember seeing so many good bands. usually, i may see one or two that blow me away, but this year every single group that i saw was incredible! (that's due to the fact that i only went to see bands i was interested in, of course, but it's also owing to the line up bumbershoot put together this year)

today was perhaps the best. i started out with vince mira, a kid (i think he's a teenager?) who sounds exactly like johnny cash. i mean EXACTLY. i saw him last year at the pike place market 100th anniversary, and i was sure to get to bumbershoot by noon so that i could check him out today.

next up was mark pickeral and his praying hands who i absolutely adored. the guidebook thingy described him as "alt country." hmm.. that description seems to be thrown around a lot. but, whatever, he was great.

then i pretty much stuck to the stage under the space needle, which was clearly the best stage of the weekend (all of my favorite bands, with the exception of band of horses, were on the stage). first was blitzen trapper, who i am completely in love with. last month, i said that they were my favorite group at the sub pop anniversary festival, and today they were ten times better than they were then. seriously, i can't say enough about them. you know how every once in a while you see a band who completely and utterly floors you and makes you want to go home and buy all their albums and see all the shows that you can? this was that band.

another one who i loved today was john vanderslice. i've heard him before, but never gotten a chance to see him live. he was really great, and had some excellent banter with the crowd about the restaraunt at the top of the space needle. i've heard that it sucks and charges 11 dollars for a hamburger. i think someone told him that it was called denney's. ha. that would rock, actually.

i made the decision to forego seeing death cab on the mainstage - actually not a hard decision; although i loved them at one time, their last two albums (with the exceptions of 2 songs - marching bands of manhattan and cath) have left me feeling like something is missing. incidentally, once their show started, i noticed an absence of the annoying teenagers (not that all teenagers are annoying, but, i have to say, many are) that had been, well, annoying me all day. i don't know if that is some kind of remark about death cab, but there you go.

anyway, instead of seeing them, i went to see minus the bear, and it turns out that was by far the best choice i could have made. WOW. i've never had a chance to see them live before, and i was completely mesmerized. from the second they took the stage to the second they left, i was utterly transfixed. there are very few bands in the world who are so good that they can make me cry (a cookie for you if you can guess who two of them are), but minus the bear surpisingly did just that. i cannot believe i have wasted my time not being a fan of them before, a situation that i will remedy as soon as possible. it was kind of funny to watch some stupid kid try to crowd surf only to fall flat on his butt when no one wanted to play along. ha.

a note: iced coconut mochas from dillentante chocolate (i think i spelled that right) are really, really good. yum. so good that i got one both sunday and monday mornings. mmmm...

sigh. back to real life. why can't this be real life?