Greyface – What Did You Lose

I read a book once by Jacob Slichter, the drummer for 90’s alt-power-pop band Semisonic, called “So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star”. It was an interesting peek into what it was like to try to make it as a rock band. The times are quite different now with the fracturing of the record company model and the emphasis on social networking etc – but the energy and passion of the musicians is still the same. This new band from LA, Greyface, reminds me of that story and the effort it takes to break out to a wider audience. Check it out!

wimps open for Katie Von Schleicher at the Soda Bar

I was 21 years old when MTV started back in 1981 and it was pretty awesome back then. Before that all we got was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special. Those were great shows but only filled 2.5 hours per week on Friday and Saturday nights. We all know that MTV doesn’t really do music videos anymore and the format went relatively dormant for a long time. Then YouTube, Vimeo, Vevo and others came along and music videos have once again become an important part of presenting and marketing a song.
That’s a lot of words to say that this song and video by wimps, a 3-piece punk rock band out of Seattle, is pretty fucking rad! Check out the video and then go see wimps play the Soda Bar Wednesday night when they open for Katie Von Schleicher...

 

Katie Von Schleicher, wimps + Gravyyard play the Soda Bar

I know everyone is wondering, “what show should I go to Wednesday night this week – there’s no one playing that I’ve heard of…”

The answer is easy – get to the Soda Bar to see Katie Von Schleicher,wimps and Gravyyard. This will be one of those shows that you can’t believe you saw at a venue like the Soda Bar (and don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the Soda Bar, but it is astonishing that bands like this, especially together, are playing such a small venue).

There – problem solved. See you there!!

In the meantime check out this video from Katie’s new album Bleakspoitation on Ba Da Bing! Records

 

La Luz – Weirdo Shrine

 

La Luz – Weirdo Shrine.  La Luz (Spanish for “the light”), are an all-female quartet based out of Seattle, WA.  After forming in 2012 they quickly released their debut, It’s Alive, in 2013.  Over the course of two albums now, the band, led by singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland has created a sound that deftly mixes girl-group sounds, indie rock, doo wop and of course the predominant element of their sound: surf rock.  This is indie music for surfers that don’t care about indie rock; just as it is surf-rock for indie scenesters that don’t care about surf music.  This turns out to not be a problem for me at all since I love both Surf and Indie rock.  The music goes from languid to upbeat between and within many of the songs, but always there are reverb drenched guitars and girl-group vocals.  If you’re feeling a little down in the dumps one day – grab a cup of coffee, or maybe a beer, and pop this record on.  Problem solved!

Records Collecting Dust

If you are into vinyl records, and especially if you consider yourself somewhat of a collector, be sure to see the documentary Records Collecting Dust.  The film features a cross section of musicians from the alternative and punk rock world talking about and showing their record collections. There’s Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag), John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes), Mike Watt (Minutemen)  and many more talking passionately about the first record they ever purchased, the last record they bought and everything in between!

And don’t worry if you’re not really into punk rock for this isn’t a film about that genre.  It’s a film about records, and record stores, and how much they matter to them and to us.  One of the fun things to learn is just how wide and varied the musical tastes and collections are of these artists and how the records they purchased growing up influenced their own music and lives.

 

Okkervil River – “Down Down the Deep River”

On the surface, this song off of Okkervil River’s 2013 album, The Silver Gymnasium, sounds like a buoyant, pop song.  But listen closer and you’ll discover a harrowing and devastating story about a young boy and his best friend at the hands of some “very bad men”.  When the father enters the story about half way through I am reminded of the novel,  The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, where the dad will do whatever it takes to protect his son.

This live-in-the-studio version shows just how powerful, melodic and literate this underrated rock group is.  As usual, turn your volume knob to the right before playing…