By Dan Nailen
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:
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-length — Sometimes 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Dan Nailen
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:
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:
By Dan Nailen
on Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 3:12 PM
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.
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.
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 Symphonyand 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.
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.
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.
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.
To the rest of the country it doesn’t matter that Spokane is a four-hour drive away from Seattle. As a fellow city in Washington state we will forever be associated with grunge music, and by extension, Kurt Cobain — and we’re fine with that. This week, the first trailer of the fully authorized documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck dropped and it looks like everything Nirvana fans (aka what should be most of the planet) have been waiting for.
For the film, which recently wowed at Sundance Film Festival, Academy Award-nominated director Brett Morgen was given unprecedented access to Cobain’s personal artifacts, including photos, drawings, writings, audio diaries and home videos. While Cobain's story has been dissected over and over, this is the first documentary made in full cooperation with the musician's family and friends — Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean Cobain are even credited as executive producers.
Cobain killed himself more than 20 years ago, but our fascination with him has seemingly only increased. This film sets out to capture a side of the singer/song-writer we've never seen. If the heartbreaking trailer is any indication, it's done just that.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck premiers on HBO May 4. A companion book and film soundtrack, featuring a previously unreleased recording, will also be released.
By Dan Nailen
on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 11:55 AM
Every week we scour the new releases from the music and home-video folks to see what's great, not-so-great and downright awful that's being foisted on the public. No need to thank us, just take a look at our Tuesday Taste to find out if you need to start shopping.
Will Butler, Policy. You might only consider Butler a sideman to his frontman brother in Arcade Fire, but his solo debut proves him to be both a savvy songwriter and an incredibly talented instrumentalist with a wide-ranging sonic palette. There's a bit of garage-rock, some retro electro-pop, some gorgeous piano-driven balladry on this impressive first effort. Here's a taste: Joe Pug, Windfall. Pug is a criminally under-rated songwriter with a weathered-to-perfection voice and knack for great, roots-based hooks in his tunes. If simple and stirring folk is your bag, Pug is your man. He's playing in Spokane March 29. Here's a bit of his new album:
And of course we have to mention: Madonna, Rebel Heart. Madonna's latesthas a little bit of everything we've come to expect from the modern pop pioneer in her later years. There are some genuinely engaging dance tunes, decent ballads, and collaborations with younger tastemakers that feel totally out of place — the reviews are mixed, as you'd expect. Considering Madonna was only good for a couple of strong tunes per album even at her best moments, not a bad ratio all around for her 13th set. And it gives her an excuse to tour this year.
MOVIES & TV
The big mainstream release of the week is the latest in an inexplicably long line of Night at the Museum movies. If you're watching to get one last glimpse of Robin Williams, fine. Otherwise, if you need something that will appeal to a lot of different folks, maybe stick with the 30th anniversary edition of The Breakfast Club or the 50th anniversary DVD release of The Sound of Music.
If something a little off-kilter or thought-provoking is more your speed, though, consider these new releases:
Happy Valley is a harsh documentary about the pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the way it shocked the academic, sports and community cultures in the college town. The reviews, including our own, were solid all around. Here's a look: Listen Up Philip features Jason Schwartzman as a writer in search of some sanity just as his second novel is about to be releases, causing him to flee to his idol's summer retreat. A well-received dark comedy about the artistic mind is the deal here. Check out a peek:
After the acts announced today, it’s time to start making your Spokane summer concert plans. Finally, some musicians coming through who aren’t country superstars, even if they've all been here before.
First up, Tyler, the Creator comes to Knitting Factory June 30. Then we have Alice in Chains also at the Knitting Factory July 22. Finally, the Beach Boys roll through the Martin Wolson Theater at the Fox, Sept. 30.
Tyler, the Creator was last at the Knitting Factory in May 2013. He also performed at last year’s Sasquatch! No matter where the rapper goes, he puts on a ridiculous show full of danceable beats with questionable, misogynistic lyrics. Fellow Odd Future cohort Taco (named for the best food ever, obviously) opens the show. Tickets are $23.
Rockers Alice in Chains played at the Gorge with Jane’s Addiction back in 2013. Now, they take their set to a far more intimate setting at the Knitting Factory. Tickets are steep for the venue at $53, but for the biggest fans out there it's worth it. The show is also a 21+ event. It's going to get crazy.
The Beach Boys are coming to the Fox — the perfect addition to shows from Gregg Allman and Buddy Guy earlier in the summer. There’s no Brian Wilson in sight for this outing but Mike Love and Bruce Johnston will be there. The show should, no doubt, be a fun, surf-rocking time. The all-ages event starts at $52.