Music

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

TUESDAY TASTE: The Sonics! Death Cab! Check out the week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:01 PM


This weeks' new releases in music and DVDs features a light load on the movie side, but a seriously killer batch of great new tunes. At Tuesday Taste, we tell what's worth your time among all the options. To wit: 

MUSIC

I'm almost embarrassed to say that the new Van Halen live album is pretty high on my list of today's new releases of things I want to hear ASAP. Although, judging by the band's performance on Jimmy Kimmel last night, maybe that's not such a great idea. Besides, there are an insane number of highly anticipated albums arriving this week, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Lower Dens, NYC punk-turned-roots rocker Jesse Malin, Ron Sexsmith, Brit folk-rockers The Staves, William Elliott Whitmore and some dude named Ringo. Here are some others: 

Death Cab for Cutie starts life without sonic ace Chris Walla, who stayed around long enough to record their new album, Kintsugi, before leaving the band. How Ben Gibbard and Co.'s sound evolves from here remains a mystery, but the new tunes sound like primo Death Cab with a dash of Postal Service's electronic flourishes. Here's a taste of new tune "Black Sun:"

The Sonics are almost as much a legend as they are a band. The Tacoma garage-rockers hit in the mid-60s with a killer, aggressive sound that inspired some to proclaim them the first punk band. Cited regularly by Seattle's rock royalty as a major influence, the band is definitely something to be reckoned with, even in their reformed state. Here's a cut from their new album, This is the Sonics:

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Monday, March 30, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Joe Pug 'takes the country by storm' at the Bartlett

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 1:54 PM

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Joe Pug has no illusions about his place in the world of contemporary pop music. 

At his strong Sunday night show at The Bartlett, he delivered a litany of self-deprecating asides between songs. He described his recently released Windfall album, tongue firmly in cheek, as "taking the country by storm" and as the favorite album of 2015, according to Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity. He also dubbed it the "official album of Quizno's." 

"It's no Subway," Pug joked. "But it's a growing chain." 

Pug's humor helped create a genuinely warm vibe at the full Bartlett, a mood that belied the pretty dark lyrical themes that fill much of his music. The set drew heavily from Windfall, but also included tunes from his older albums The Great Despiser and Messenger, as well as some older EPs. Even his reputation for morose tunes gave Pug the opportunity to get some laughs from the crowd, as in when he described writing what he thought of as a light love song for his girlfriend — "It was like my 'It's Raining Men' or something!" — only to have her find it far from ebullient. 

That song, "Pair of Shadows," was delivered solo by Pug, and was one of the highlights of the show. For most of the gig, he was backed by a three-piece guitar/standup bass/drums band that gave his folk some unexpected muscle not always present on his recordings. What always remained was his gruff voice that belies his youth and makes comparisons to singer/songwriters like Bruce Springsteen and John Prine pretty fitting. 

Pug opened the show with a three-song salvo that touched on three different releases, with the new "Burn and Shine," "Messenger" and "Nation of Heat" drawing the audience into Pug's world. Guitarist Greg Tuohey particularly set himself apart early on with chiming lead parts and ringing solos that inspired Pug to proclaim him "the Richard Sherman of guitar" in a nice nod to the Seahawks defensive back. 

Older songs like "I Do My Father's Drugs," "Hymn #76," "A Gentle Few" and "How Good You Are" (featuring the great opening lines "I was born into a circus, but I ran off to join a home") attracted loud cheers from fans familiar with the older material, and the new songs fit alongside them with ease. There are definitely more positive vibes in new songs like "Windfallen," "If Still It Can't Be Found" and, naturally, "'Bright Beginnings." 

"The Measure," another new one played late in the set, included the lines "What we've lost is nothing that can't be found." Clearly, finding the love of his life and getting engaged has had some effect on his songs and their moods — even if his fiancee doesn't think "Pair of Shadows" is exactly a traditional love song, and even if he followed up soon after with his excellent, gritty "The Great Despiser." 

With any luck, perhaps Pug's sunnier on-album disposition will lead more fans to discover a great, young American songwriting talent
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Friday, March 27, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Local CD and video releases, CdA Blues Fest and Sir Richard Bishop

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 1:41 PM


FRIDAY

Local bands are on a hot streak this month, dropping records left and right, and this weekend we have two new ones. First up on Friday is Coeur d’Alene act the Static Tones, releasing their fuzzed-out, classic rock ’n’ roll disc Brotherhood of Strangers. The trio’s music is gritty and soulful, translating as well in a dive bar as it does on the open road with the windows down. The show kicks off at the Big Dipper with Blackwater Prophet, Stucco and Sorority opening at 7:30 pm. Cost is $5. 

Countrrrrryy fans listen up: homeboy-turned-Nashville recording artist Jeremy McComb comes through Post Falls’ Nashville North (which he co-owns) tonight with a posse of all-star players. Show up before 8 pm for free cover and dance lessons. The show starts at 9 pm. 

You pronounce the band called !!! as Chk Chk Chk — obviously. Tonight, the Brooklyn-based electronic indie band starts its weird dance party at 8 pm at the Bartlett, with Bandit Train opening. Cost is $15 at the door.

The Coeur d’Alene Blues Festival kicks off tonight at the Coeur d’Alene Resort with an intimate Blues Cruise on the lake. Then tomorrow, bluesy tunes continue with help from acts like Selwyn Birchwood and Lisa Mann. Check out the website here for all times, lineups and locations.

SATURDAY
Boat Race Weekend, on the other hand, hitting the stage Saturday night, take their emotional style of pop-punk very seriously on their first record, The Talisman. A Gonzaga three-piece — two members are seniors and the other graduated last year — the group is young, but they’ve got more than enough loud, pent-up angst to express in their songs, which translates to one hell of a ruckus onstage.Their Big Dipper performance starts at 7 pm and is $7. The Bight, the Camorra and Head Hiatus open the show. 

Marshall McLean Band, recently voted by the people as the best original band in Spokane, has an official music video release show (see below) up in Sandpoint Saturday night at the beautiful Panida Theater. Anna Tivel opens the show. Tickets are $15. Expect to be filled with a need to dance when you show up. 

Sir Richard Bishop, whose show was moved from the Palomino Club to South Perry Yoga, brings his storied mix of American Primitivism with Eastern mysticism to Spokane. Learn about his recent affair with an old six-string guitar in this week’s music story. The show starts at 7 pm and is $10.

Also worthy of your time on Saturday are rockin’ shows at the Hop! and Underground 15.

SUNDAY
Don't expect Joe Pug to sing as many hymns as he once did. Instead, show up Sunday at the Bartlett to hear the music from his new record that almost didn’t happen. The concert starts at 8 pm and is $14 the day of.  


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TUESDAY TASTE: Courtney Barnett, JSBX and Criterion release of a pioneering doc

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 12:02 PM


Each week we check out the new releases in music and DVDs to see what's worth your time and money, and what's more fit for the garbage can. It's Tuesday Taste, and here's what's coming this week: 

MUSIC

Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett first caught my attention with her breakthrough to North American audiences, How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose EP, and I'm as excited for her first full-lengthSometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit — as I am for any album coming this spring. Here's a taste of her deadpan vocals and chiming guitar-rock, via new tune "Pedestrian at Best:"
 
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is one of the great under-appreciated rock bands of the last 20 years or so — if you need proof, go check out their show in May at The Bartlett and thank me later for the best night of your spring. Freedom Tower — No Wave Dance Party 2015 is the band's 10th full-length, and it's full of the joyfully sloppy, greasy grooves and heavy riffs that the trio has pretty much perfected at this point. 

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bach hits the “Subway” Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM


On March 21, the world celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday. This year, the prolific baroque composer turns 330 and to commemorate that milestone, musicians in 39 countries will take to public transit centers to play free shows for the annual event Bach in the Subways.

Our city is getting into the "holiday" spirit too. Clearly, Spokane doesn’t have a subway system, but we do have a downtown bus plaza. Musicians of all kinds are invited to show up today at noon with instruments, music stands and friends for an impromptu Bach jam session. The event is hosted by the Holy Names Music Center. 

Who knows, something like this could happen?


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Friday, March 20, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Reunions galore with Rough Congress, Whiskey Dick Mountain and Six State Bender

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 11:55 AM


FRIDAY

The Supersuckers take their countrified tour to Pinnacle Northwest tonight. The Seattle-based rockers have gone through a lot to perform here (read our story on Eddie Spaghetti’s trials right here) and it promises to be a night of crazy. The all-ages show is $11 and starts at 8:30 pm. The Camorra opens.



The Bartlett is in the Round again, this time with local performers Sarah Berentson, Alex Ishkov, Cedar & Boyer, Chris Cook, Aaron Abolofia. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and is $10 at the door.

SATURDAY
Followers of Whiskey Dick Mountain will be taken back to church this Saturday as the band’s second coming is upon us. Other awesome bands at the Mootsy's show include the Shirkers (another sweet local reunion) and Fun Ladies. The show starts at 10 pm and is fo' free! 

A five-state bender just isn’t enough for punk-rockers Six State Bender, who reunite Saturday. Show up at Jones Radiator to find out why. You’ll probably want to arrive around 7 pm just to guarantee a space. The show is $5 and Siamese Suicide will be there too.

After this Saturday’s Rough Congress show, you never know when the Spokane supergroup will play their brand of modern soul again (read this week’s story on the band here). Meaning get down to nYne to see them take over the stage at 9 pm. The show is (ironically?) set to go on right after The Vagina Monologues.

SUNDAY
On Pizza Time’s latest record Todo, the band sings the praises of its namesake dish with a song titled, yep, “Pizza Time.” On it, David Castillo, the lone official member of the fun-loving punk band, and a couple of his friends sing “Pizza time / Pizza time / Whoa oh oh,” repeatedly over fuzzed-out guitar and simple drumbeats. The rest of Castillo’s songs, mostly sung in Spanish, are no less catchy than the first tune. This is the Denver-based band’s Adios Tour, as Castillo has chosen to focus on his pop-rock act Panaderia after this run ends. So catch Pizza Time while you still can for their two sets Sunday night at Baby Bar. The show also includes a bunch of local bands like Jan Francisco, Stucco, Loomer, BBBBandits and Street Tang. The show is all-ages from 7 pm to 10 pm and 21+ after 10 pm. Best of all, this wild show is free. 
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TUESDAY TASTE: New Kendrick Lamar and Modest Mouse, Chris Rock's Top Five

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:01 AM


Each week we sift through all manner of entertainment garbage to find the gems worth your time among the week's new releases in music and DVDs. It can get messy, but we like to be helpful. Here's a look at some of the best for this week: 

MUSIC 

Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves. Eight years. It seems insane that it's taken Modest Mouse that long to get another full-length album together, but alas, it's true. Acts like Axl Rose and Boston are notorious for such lengthy pauses in recording, but Modest Mouse was historically pretty prolific for most of their career. Thankfully for us fans, the wait is over, and the collection Strangers to Ourselves is full of the off-kilter rhythms, churning anthems and Isaac Brock howls we've come to know and (for the most part) love through the years. As someone who was feeling a bit burned out on the band by the time their last album came around in 2007, the long wait was perfect for getting me amped to hear them again. Of course, not all old fans are thrilled with the new one. Here's a taste of a new song called "Coyotes:"

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
. Arguably the most creative rapper going right now, Kendrick Lamar's sophomore album was originally slated to come out next week, but he went ahead and dropped To Pimp a Butterfly a little bit early. People are pretty excited about it after his killer debut Good Kid: M.A.D.D. City, his appearance during the last week of The Colbert Report and much hype accompanying the release. Here's a killer new track for your consideration: 

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Widespread Panic's sold-out show at The Fox

Posted By on Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 3:12 PM

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While Widespread Panic filled the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox with winding, bluesy jams Saturday night, nearly 2,000 fans from Spokane and beyond filled it with maniacal dancing, good vibes and the pungent odors and smoke from a wide array of intoxicants. 

Given that this was the band's first appearance in Spokane since 1999, the excitement was understandable. And when they hit the stage shortly after 8 pm for a show that ultimately stretched well beyond three hours, the sextet immediately cranked the energy up with a cover of The Band's "Ophelia" for their first song. 

The crowd would have been thrilled with anything, of course, and the transition into "Space Wrangler," the title track from the band's 1988 debut, launched the first set through an hour of remarkable musicianship. Much of it came courtesy of guitarist Jimmy Herring, a veteran of the Allman Brothers Band and various Grateful Dead-related projects before joining the band in 2006. Depending on one's state of mind, one could almost see sparks fly off Herring's guitar on songs like "Honky Red" and "Pigeons." 

Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring, left, and JoJo Hermann. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring, left, and JoJo Hermann.

The band
— Herring, singer/guitarist John Bell, keyboardist JoJo Hermann, percussionist Sunny Ortiz, bassist Dave Schools and drummer  Duane Trucks, sitting in for Todd Nance — is adept at blending Southern rock, funk, soul and blues passages into cohesive, lengthy jams, and the non-stop movement of dancers filling the aisles and every available seat in the Fox was testament to how well they delivered on Saturday. 

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Friday, March 13, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: The Finns CD release, Uncharted Territory, Widespread Panic and St. Pat’s shenanigans

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:59 AM

This weekend is beyond busy for the Inland Northwest music scene — because sometimes we’re not great about spreading performances and concerts out. That just means you have A LOT to check out.

FRIDAY
The Finns call it drama rock, and that description seems to fit this local outfit well. Their music would fit in perfectly in a strangely dark rock musical — probably one with puppets involved. That’s meant as a compliment, as the Finns don’t sound like anyone else in Spokane. Michael Gustafson’s clear-as-day theater vocals paired with the band’s surf-rock drumbeats almost leaves you off balance, but listen a little longer and it all makes sense. Tonight, they release their first LP, Nautilus, at Underground 15. Some of the lyrics are serious, grappling with the nature of existence, while others offer a taste of the absurd (i.e., the use of “meow” in the song “Black Cat”). The free 21+ show starts at 8 pm with Sea Giant opening.

The Bartlett brings in the hippie rockers the Cave Singers tonight. BBBBandits open for the all-ages show that starts at 8 pm. It’s $17 to get in. And next door at nYne are the local rock/Americana acts the Camaros and Silver Treason take over starting at 8 pm. You should probably just go to both shows since you’re right there anyway.

The Pin hosts a double show tonight that promises to get insanely loud. First up are metal acts Keep In Check (a Spokane act releasing their new EP at 2 pm today), Safe And Sound, Umbra, East Sherman At Midnight and F—- Out beginning at 6 pm. Then rocking it out after 10 pm are Rum Rebellion (who have a Celtic flair to their music, check out that flute action!) and Random Noise.


Tonight, many of the who’s who of the Spokane arts scene come together at the Washington Cracker Co. Building for Uncharted Territory, a brand new collaboration between the Spokane Symphony and the producers of Terrain. Local musicians participating include Flying Spiders, Water Monster and Hannah Reader. Expect dance and spoken word as well. Cost is a little steep at $32, but well worth it. Starts at 8 pm.

SATURDAY
Fake St. Patrick’s Day mayhem (the holiday is on Tuesday) starts downtown at noon with the annual parade. After that your musical options are seemingly endless.
- The Bartlett has a St. Patty’s Party featuring Polecat and Folkinception.
- Soul Proprietor’s St. Pat’s Funk Fest at the Big Dipper includes Irish act Floating Crowbar (who’ll also play Hills’ that day).
- Litz’s Bar & Grill features folk punk band Keilidh Shillelagh & the ElektroKelts (who’ll also play the Pin that day) and Angus Scott Pipe Band.
- The annual Pitch-A-Tent party has been moved to the Viking this year. That event includes Nixon Rodeo, Beyond Today, Death By Pirates and more. It's $8 at the door after 3 pm.

As if that wasn’t enough, Widespread Panic (read our story here) plays the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, and Philadelphia surf-rockers DRGN King take over the Baby Bar (read our story on that here). Essentially, walk into any bar/restaurant/music venue Saturday night and you’re bound to find some live music. Crazy.

SUNDAY
Never count Christian music out. Last year, several Christian artists, including Lecrae and Hillsong United, cracked the secular Billboard charts. Sunday, the Rock & Worship Roadshow rolls through the Spokane Arena for another year of family-friendly entertainment. The lineup includes big industry veterans like MercyMe and Crowder (former lead singer of the David Crowder Band) as well as newer Christian chart-toppers like contemporary hymn writer Matt Maher. Obviously, this music only caters to a certain demographic, but it’s amazing how big this Nashville-backed industry has become. $10/door (no tickets required). The show starts at 6 pm. 
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Eagles announced for Spokane Arena in May

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 4:30 PM


In what will most likely be one of the biggest shows of the year for the Spokane Arena, soft-rock legends the Eagles (which includes Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit) fly to the stage May 29, subsequently also the first day of the Inlander’s Volume music festival.

Listed as No. 13 on the Arena’s fan-voted Bucket List, this is a huge get that is sure to excite legions of area fans (aka children of the '70s). This is the first time the band — whose Greatest Hits 1971-1975 album is the best-selling album of all time — has been to Spokane since 2002.

The History of the Eagles – Live In Concert Tour kicked off back in 2013 following the release of the tell-all documentary of the same name, which highlights the highs (five No. 1 hits) and lows (Don Felder suing) of the band. You can stream it on Netflix now.

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 20. Prices start at $59. 


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