Tuesday, October 22, 2013

0 ALBUM PREVIEW: Listen to a track from X Suns' forthcoming The Greys EP!

It seems that any time a genre comes into fashion, we eventually see a vast number of bands climbing into the ring, putting up their dukes and battling it out to find some way to separate themselves from the rest of the fracas and stand atop the heap of the weaker sound-alikes and wannabes. It takes something special to survive under these circumstances, and with the rise of the instrumental post-rock/post-metal sound, this war is occurring as we speak.  Seattle's X Suns are currently poised to be one of the very few bands in this particular fight able to throw down their instruments of destruction and victory-dance their way onto bigger and better things.  "Why is that, SRG?" you might ask.  Well let me just throw this out there as a humble postulation: maybe it's because they know that before you can move into anything "post-," you have to understand the pre. 

Okay, I know there is no such thing as pre-metal or pre-rock -- we like to use the much more ur-sounding "proto-" for that schtick -- but what I'm saying is that you gotta know the roots of the music that you are responding to, transforming, and extracting from.  Look at any of the more successful post- bands out there today and you will see that it's something strikingly similar that they all share.  Take the current kings of the hill, Russian Circles, for example: they have Brian Cook, formerly of some of the most batshit crazy hardcore-aligned bands of the last two decades, including Botch and These Arms Are Snakes.   And likewise, one of the early great entrants into the genre, Red Sparowes, had members from such renowned heavy stalwarts as Neurosis (at least, in their amazing early days) and Isis (who themselves eventually became firmly post- as it sounds today).  These guys had a history of churning out brutality before settling back a bit and trusting in their musicality to bring out something a bit more emotionally dynamic and, arguably, larger in scale and scope, but they never lost that appreciation of, or a temperance from, their brutal beginnings.  X Suns (by the way, it's worth noting that the X is Roman numerical) share this trait, as their members are well-versed in the heavy -- with drummer Trent McIntyre serving triple-duty in such ferocious projects as Grenades and Old Iron, and guitarist Skippy Tim King, previously flexing his rock chops in Patrol.  They've undergone some personnel changes in the guitarist department, but everybody involved has this similar sensibility.  It was evident in their eponymous first EP, when they were still a three-piece (King filled out the dual-guitar role shortly after), and it has carried over to their excellent follow-up, The Greys, which will see a digital release next week, with a physical release to follow.

We here at SRG are pleased as punch to be premiering "High Life Refined Palates," the expansive middle track from The Greys.  Masterfully recorded by Christiaan Morris (who is making quite a name for himself as a worthy engineer in town with his recent work on the Lozen and Grenades goodies) and mixed down by the mighty Matt Bayles (if you don't know who that is, then...yeah, you probably aren't reading this), the record sounds as lush and thick as these guys have proven to deserve.  Hopefully, all of the bullshit written above starts to make sense as you hit play below and settle in with the deceptively calm, strolling beauty, belied by an underlying intensity, until, in a seemingly organic process, it all culminates in a series of cascading (dare I say mathy?) riffs, before launching into a blissfully soaring bridge and the thunderous finale.  It becomes pretty obvious during a good listen to, not only this song, but the rest of the new EP what separates these studious artists -- who understand their roots and what about them is worth hanging onto -- from their naive peers.

Be sure to download a copy for yourself next week, and catch them as they continue to fight the good fight with Breag Noafa at the Blue Moon this Thursday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

1 Show Preview: SRG's CHBP (and MORE!) Schedule

WHAT'S NOT WEAK THIS WEEKEND - a rock show roundup from SRG

Yay, it's summer!  And for Capitol Hill's denizens, that means you're going to have a bitch of a time getting anywhere this weekend, as the neighborhood's artistic community throws its annual Block Party.  It's as big as ever this year, with a range of bands every bit as diverse as you might expect to see perform in such a boho borough as the Hill.  We all know that heavy music doesn't exactly appeal to the fattest cross-section of casual showgoers, you might be wondering if there is anything worth banging your head to at this hipsterfest.  Fortunately, the answer is an emphatic YES.  The organizers deserve some props for providing rock fans an escape from the Molly-addled college kids wriggling in the streets to the unicorn farts of Flaming Lips, or along with some pablum electronica star oonce-ooncing away on the main stage.  In fact, there's plenty for us to do!  See below for a day-by-day recommendation list to get your rock on.

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Capitol Hill Block Party - Day I (full event schedule: http://capitolhillblockparty.com/schedule/)
5pm – Deadkill (Vera Stage)
6:30pm – Princess (Barboza Stage)
7:45pm – Monogamy Party (Cha Cha Stage)
8:45pm – The Trashies (Cha Cha Stage)
9:30pm – White Lung (Vera Stage)
9:45pm – Constant Lovers (Cha Cha Stage)
SRG and Comet Tavern Present:
COCK BLOCK! FREE CHBP After Party @ The Comet
 (It's free to the public! Like, you didn't even have to go to CHBP to get in and stuff)
11:00pm - Sailor Mouth
12:00am - Murmurs
Saturday, July 27th, 2013

3pm – Survival Knife (Neumos Stage)
3:30pm – Rose Windows (Main Stage)
3:45pm – Grave Matters (Cha Cha Stage)
5:45pm – Rabbits (Cha Cha Stage)
6:45pm – Trash Fire (Cha Cha Stage)
7:30pm – Gaytheist (Barboza Stage)
7:45pm – Tacocat (Cha Cha Stage)
9:00pm – Dog Shredder (Barboza Stage)

But wait, there's more!  Just a cheap cab ride, or brazenly drunken stagger down the hill is this show that SRG Brother Nik organized -- because he's just a that kind of mofuckin' genius!

SRG and Good To Die Present:
Helms Alee | Rabbits | Qui | The Great Goddamn @ The Black Lodge

It's actually pretty hard to imagine that any of these bands were passed over for the Block Party this year, but luckily for us Seattle heavy music freaks, they were (though in truth, Rabbits was not, as they are playing the Cha Cha stage at 5:45).  This is easily one of the most WORTHY bills we have ever put together at SRG.

As an added bonus, just next door, at the Victory Lounge is this:

Great Falls | Into The Open Earth (CA) | Thac0 @ Victory Lounge

All will be timed to play during set breaks at the Black Lodge and vice versa, so that's 7 amazing bands for around $10 total.  You won't find a better value (or many better bands) anywhere this weekend.
Sunday, July 28th, 2013

2:15pm – Sandrider (Neumos Stage)
4:45pm – Old Iron (Cha Cha Stage)
5:45pm – Grenades (Cha Cha Stage)
6:45pm – Tacos (Cha Cha Stage)

7:30pm-on – Unicorn farts.  I’m going home.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2 SHOW PREVIEW: James' (Seattle P.A.) Birthday Show! Smooth Sailing | Crawlin' | Cascabel | The Great Goddamn

You would think that a couple of heavy music fans, both of whom have chosen to espouse their praise of the very same local music scene on the very same internet, would gnash and snarl at one another over each piece of the succulent rock flesh they can wrest from each other's grasp, and yet, we here at SRG and the crew over at the Seattle Passive Aggressive remain buds.  The reason is not simply that this town is big enough for the both of us, nor is it that a little friendly "competition" never hurt anyone; it's that we're both just super geeky about great music and pretty much get along with anyone we can mutually geek out with.  We're not in this to build our own names; we're in this to help build the community.  Two factions shouting the same thing shout louder and to a broader audience, which is fuckin' super duper for everyone involved. 

Sometimes the two factions are shouting for beer.

And, it is with that spirit that we would like to wish James Ballinger from the SPA a very happy birthday and pass the word along about the kickass lineup he has put together at The Highline for the night.

Smooth Sailing have been spending ample time out in the woodshed, constructing and polishing up the slew of new songs recently debuted at The Comet.  They did not fail to impress their long-term fanbase, as these thundering tunes were every bit as technical, heavy, huge, and gorgeous as the controlled explosions they have released in the past.  Getting a chance to hear them again is worth the price of admission alone.

Speaking of thundersplosions, both Crawlin' and Cascabel bring their fair share as well.  The latter throwing a little more core into their metal than the former, but each easily accessible to anyone who would happily die of an unending riff-borne orgasm, regardless of which color of denim is preferred.

The real treat of the night, however, could be The Great Goddamn, who has been on this writer's need-to-see list since their inception.  This heavy duo, featuring Brian from He Whose Ox is Gored, formed late last year and has received nothing but praise from those who have seen one of their handful of shows.  I, for one, will be sure to arrive early and pop my Goddamn cherry.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

0 TICKET GIVEAWAY: Ancient Warlocks | Witch Mountain | Mos Generator | Severhead


You know those photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the giant stalagmitic gas clouds millions of light years away?  Those are the remnants of huge clouds of gas and dust carved into pillars by the barrage of ultraviolet light from a newborn star.  If you replace that intense UV light with bitchin’ riffs, and those gas clouds with your freakin’ MIND, then Ancient Warlocks would be the newborn star, eroding the dust that covers your joyless existence.  All that is left of you after their set is a eyeful of wonderful pinks, oranges, and purples, and an enormous erection – four light-years from root to tip.

Also see: Space Boners
They will be taking the stage at the Highline this Saturday with Portland's excellent Witch Mountain to do just that, and they have generously offered one lucky winner a pair of tickets and a copy of their new 7" split with raucous billmates Mos Generator. A couple lucky runner-ups will also receive a copy of the 7" or a AW Ladies' Tee, which they can pick up at the show.  Here's how to enter!

***To enter the drawing for a pair of tickets simply send an email to jake@seattlerockguy.com with "Ancient" as the subject and your full name in the body. Winners will be drawn Friday afternoon at 5pm. Good luck!***

Friday, May 24, 2013

4 Lord Dying "Greed Is Your Horse"

Lord Dying delivers the big riffs. Damn, these guys kick a lot of ass! Holy shit! Watch this video and get a taste of last night's SRG shin dig. Lord Dying does not mess around.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

0 SHOW PREVIEW: Lord Dying | Glose | Tacos!

Once in a while, a non-heavy music fan may stumble across a blog like SRG and read about some of the bands mentioned within, and begin to think that there exists a homogenous collective of heavy music purveyors and fans—eager to simply rock out to any distorted drop-D riffage backed by a pummeling barrage of blast beats, barked bellows and bass chugs—but the truth is that the heavy scene is as diverse as a gameboy rainbow – ranging all the way from very light gray, to raincloud dim and murky dusk, and on into midnight black. As much as this geographically-isolated music community strives to be supportive of all who climb up to the stage and hash out their burly wares, there is a distinct divide in appreciation of different approaches and styles.

One of the clearest divisions is between the more traditional metal set and the less-technical sludgy doomsters that have given the PNW its defining imprint—for better or worse—on the national scene. Portland's Lord Dying may be the most perfect example of a “crossover” band we have right now. Perfectly mingling the dark thickness our region is known for (they have a KARP cover in their repertoire, for chrissakes!) with the shredtastic solos and headbang-friendly technicality of yesteryear, they have been quickly building a name for themselves by welcoming all-comers and offering something juicy and delicious to both the denim-clad hairfarmer and hoodie-bound hardcore kid alike.

By now, perhaps you've heard the news of how they have joined the ranks of fellow Portland heavy luminaries, Red Fang, by signing to Relapse Records for an astonishingly good deal. Take note: you may want to catch these guys when they take the stage at Chop Suey on Thursday, because who knows? Next year they could be playing Sasquatch or some shit.

Hey, speaking of blending styles: both supporting acts on this bill, Glose and Tacos! are fairly nascent collaborations of a diverse collection of our local scene's finest veteran acts, and are neck and neck in the race to win the coveted SRG award (the Essargie!) for Best New Artist this year. The former features members of long-time local faves The Ruby Doe and Madraso, while the latter duo is a Mico de Noche and Sugar Sugar Sugar melding of minds. Both acts bring the heavy riffs and grooves, but in uniquely different yet equally-inspiring flavors. The whole set was clearly designed with a quality-not-quantity approach (by Jodi of Chop Suey and SRG Brother Nik, natch), assuring those who show up to see the first band that they will have plenty to rave about at last call.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

0 Watch or Die #30 - Federation X, The Valley, and Tacos!

The flyer hinted at brain wash, but none of us needed the sesh. Hell, we might even request our eye lids taped open after several tall cans of goodness.  Kick us in the pants, smash our faces - we dig it.

Let's start with the headliners: Federation X. These fellas deliver and heavy music lovers eagerly await their next record. Make sure to check out guitarist/vocalist Bill Badgley's guerrilla flavored doc about the mighty, mighty KARP.  But in case you have too short of an attention span right at this moment, check out their live jam, "Maybe We'll Die Young".

Let's get this straight from the get go - I dig The Valley. I like their noisy ass shit. The Valley brings it. Go see them.

But that's not what I want to discuss.

Nothing beats a good t-shirt. Some of the best I have seen (Darth Vader trimming a hedge into the shape of the Death Star, a Crystal Lake camp counselor, and an OBEY from They Live) always spark conversation. A good t-shirt sparks conversation with complete strangers. Hell, world leaders should scrap the suits and find a good tee - it might be the solution to all the madness. 


Bassist Tim Basaraba wore a conversation starter - a mother fucking Aquaman shirt. 

Has there ever been a more maligned super hero? Even in the old Justice League, it seemed like Aquaman was always the dude who did nothing. What's he going to do? Really? What's he going to do?

This debate raged on. Within the haze, one might have even heard someone declare that they could beat Aquaman's ass.

Normally, a debate with a drunk ass can go on for ages without rational points, but no one wanted to touch the last statement - it was met with nods and approval.

"Yes, even you, can whip Aquaman."

"You can barely stand up, but I bet you could hang with Aquaman."

Such bravado rarely enters our conversations. Only one other fictitious character has captured our imagination to the point of declaring that one could, "beat his ass without any problem" and that would be Chucky from Child's Play.

The Aquaman shirt most definitely evokes conversation and that people is never a bad thing.

[Editor's Note: We don't know shit about Aquaman.]

Enjoy "Boom Theory" and leave a comment about your take on Aquaman.

Tacos! started the night. Let's face it, if a band possesses members of Mico de Noche and Sugar Sugar Sugar satisfaction awaits. Tacos! have the second best name in the Pacific Northwest (Gaytheist holds the top spot) and utilize the exclamation point to communicate they're not fucking around. Right now, they're my favorite new band smashing faces all up and down the Sound. Come check out what I mean when they blister Chop Suey along with Glose and one and only LORD DYING, May 23.

TACOS! perform "Eclipse". WATCH OR DIE!!!!

[Editors Note: All videos are from the SRG Presents show held this past March 23rd at the Sunset. Thanks to Fed X, The Valley, and Tacos! for playing and a special thanks to those who spent their Saturday night rocking out with us. Great times!]

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

0 SHOW PREVIEW: Grenades (Record Release) | Smooth Sailing | Serial Hawk | Mercy Ties

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Patience is a virtue not of the wicked, but of the chaste?” No? Maybe it's because I just made that shit up (unless some puritan asshole actually did say that – I'm not gonna google it). It's kinda true though! The problem is, not a one of us prides ourselves on chastity, and unfortunately, sometimes it does take a little patience for us wicked folk to finally get a fix of what we are truly craving. It's why we drink so heavily.  Well, it is with utmost relief that I can say that the debut album from perennial SRG faves, Grenades, Heaven is Empty, is finally seeing the light of day next week, thanks to Red Cobra Records. This has been a long time coming, and thankfully the release show has been programmed to be the cathartic orgasm deserved of such an affair.  It'll be a reason to drink heavily!

But before going into the excellent full-length that those boys recorded with Christiaan Morris at the Red Room, there is much to say about the bands they have chosen to help launch it at The Comet on Friday.

To be perfectly blunt, I think that some may have poo-pooed Smooth Sailing over the years. It could be their passively ironic name, which only belies their vicious live show and the moving rise and fall of their pummeling metal-meets-post-whatever etudes. It could be their relative youth, seeing as they are all fit, young men – handsome and charming in a way that most bands seemingly strive not to be. They all have beards now, folks; don't write them off! It could be their live, wall-of-motherfuck extravagance, which could bring to light the insecurities in lesser bands... Actually, they don't give a shit. Smooth Sailing will be doing what they have been doing so goddamn well for the last four years. What they got, they got down, and lo! they are bringing a couple new tunes to this special occasion.

That alone is worth celebrating, but fellow supporters, Serial Hawk, are giving what has become a rare performance as well. Have you ever seen a drummer crack his kick pedal in half? Not at a joint, or at the mallet, but the actual foot plate? Serial Hawk has done this live. And this was only in effort to meet the sheer sonic intensity of the massive rigs these guys play their bowel-slumping riffs through. Why go see stadium shows, with, eh, maybe 1.5x the wattage that these guys crank out of a phalanx of cabs in a room with a cap of 200? Don't worry, they only turn up to 10.5, if you're not wearing plugs.

Then there's Mercy Ties, who shared sides of Grenades' first split and have kept up their end of the bargain by maintaining the same frenetic rage spilt out back then. It feels strange to refer to these guys as “openers” as this whole bill is as solid front-to-back as it would be back-to-front. But this all leads me back to the Grenades album...

It fucking slays.  Buy a copy -- you won't be disappointed.

-- Drunkenly scribed by Jake Weller.  Soberly posted by Nik Christofferson

Saturday, April 20, 2013

0 SHOW PREVIEW: CHOICE FEST II, NIGHT 3: Lozen | Bad Powers | Tacos | Elk Rider

One of the saving graces of the mid-'00s for this writer was the Brooklyn-based Made Out of Babies. And while I enjoyed the frantic vocal histrionics of frontwoman Julie Christmas, it was actually the powerful, steadfast burl brought on by guitarist Brendan Tobin, bassist Cooper and drummer Matthew Egan that made the connection for me. I listened the shit out of their tunes. Now, come to find that Christmas decided to go about her own business, leaving the rest of the dudes to make a (now obvious) plea for Seattle's own Megan Tweed (The Family Curse) to join up and vocalize. After giving Bad Powers' debut album a few dozen spins, it was clear why they had made the choice: everything that I had loved about Made Out of Babies was still there, if not improved upon, and this new vocalist was bringing it all to the forefront and, at the same time, making it all her own. Now they are making their Seattle debut tonight at The Comet to close out Choicefest II, and there is no lack of talent on this bill.

SRG and yours truly have gushed time and time again over the beautiful tones wrought by headliners Lozen. Their most recent work, Para Vida, was perhaps my favorite local album released in the last year, and is still a regular on the ol' turntable. And Tacos! are quickly becoming one of our favorite local bands. Both of these duos bring a sound many times larger and more impressive than many bands with double their numbers.

Elk Rider make a return appearance to Choicefest to kick the whole thing off, only adding to one of the more solid bills we've seen in these parts this year. It's honestly hard to decide who we are most excited to see.  Adam, damn it, you did it again.

Friday, April 19, 2013

0 SHOW PREVIEW: CHOICEFEST II, NIGHT 2: Princess | Fist Fite | Pipsqueak | Skies Below

My duty as a loyal supporter of local music is so easy this weekend, thanks to Choicefest. If I haven't made clear my feelings about Friday night's headliner, Princess, then let me reiterate one more time how deeply their frenetic noise-rock strains, wall-to-wall rhythm section, and boisterous frontmandering hits me in the tender, ticklish nethers. They're ridiculous, exciting, and a shining example of the contemporary PNW rawr. As always, they alone will smash the show into the favorite memory folder in your hard (drinking) drive, but Mr. Bass has programmed a full evening of entertainment for those in attendance at the Black Lodge.

Portland's Fist Fite are swiftly moving up the must-see list for those in the know, and once you see them, you will be gleefully entered into the welcoming clique of “those.” Hell, there is nothing I can say about them that this Watch Or Die feature we recently offered can't say:

Now, there are more than a few folks in town who grin widely when Pipsqueak are mentioned, and honestly, it's because cellos get smiles. The driving acoustic punk duo offer an elegiac gravity with the inclusion of such non-traditional instrumentation alongside the kind of fast-paced six-string strumming and anthemic pleading you might expect from a highly-skilled, albeit angry, busker in a busy urban marketplace. Once you hear the combination, it becomes so obvious why it works.

Opening the night are the fresh-on-the-scene Skies Below, who simply offer a series of subtly-building crescendos, culminating in a fucking huge wall of sound, all backed by a gloriously powerful set of pipes...and a cello, which gets smiles.

Adam done did it again. And don't even get me started on Saturday's show...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

0 SHOW PREVIEW: CHOICEFEST II, NIGHT 1: Skarp | Transient | Don Peyote

Last year's Choicefest allowed longtime promoter/superfan Adam Noble Bass to spread his thrusting, fist-pumping wing and fly like the jovial, gregarious eagle of the PNW heavy music scene that he is.  Due to the success that his promotion company, Ladies' Choice, saw last April with the “No All-Dude Bands” theme, it has now become an annual event – one WORTHY enough that SRG will devote a show preview to each of the three spectacular events he has lined up again for this coming weekend.
It all starts on Thursday with the resounding clang of some of the heaviest metal our fair region has to offer.  Four bands at the Highline on Cap Hill, and, sticking to the theme, each one will have at least one female member.  It will also serve as a benefit show for Theories vocalist, Rick Powell, who was shot while on break outside of his Crown Car in West Seattle earlier this month.  He is scheduled to make a full recovery, but not without missing a few months of work.  He’s one tough motherfucker!  If you come to the show, you’re helping him out as well as helping the entire scene to show how much we care about one another.  But also, you are helping yourself to a bunch of great metal and a kickass night.
Back in the day—before they had signed to Alternative Tentacles, before their live performances became a rare and special event—veteran crust ‘n’ grind quartet, Skarp, used to scare me a little.  Perhaps it was the sheer, palpable intensity they would exude in those small, dark rooms that the more extreme types of music were relegated to at the time.  Or maybe it was Joe Grindo’s (Book of Black Earth, Splatterhouse, etc.) maniacal drumming that made my heart begin to pump overtime, striving in vain to align itself in perfect syncopation with the endless blast beats and brick wall stops…  Whatever it was, I can’t wait to get another taste of it at the Highline. 
Portland’s Transient also bring the grind as well as anyone out there, with a similar level of intensity to the headliners described above.  It’s great fun to watch the diminutive vocalist, Krysta Martinez (recently back from an international tour with Landmine Marathon), as she transitions between a fire-breathing, growling, unholy dragon, with some of the greatest range and rage one could expect to find in extreme music from any era, to a grinning and gracious host as she takes a moment to catch her breath between songs.
The filthy and fantastic Don Peyote and relative new-comers Murder in the Wood are opening.  The former are always a blast to see, and really help make this solid bill even more impressive, while the latter are honestly new to me – but that is what makes these kinds of fests exciting, and it’s nice to get the chance to check out a Superfan-approved new band on the scene.  (UPDATE: Unfortunately, Murder in the Wood will be unable to make the show.  But, it's still an incredible three-band bill for a measly eight bucks!)

Check back tomorrow for more Choicefest II previews!

1 Final Push for Helms Alee's Pre-sale Campaign for "Sleepwalking Sailors"

Photo by Nik Christofferson

Hydrahead alumni, Helms Alee, are holding a pre-sale for their upcoming 3rd full length titled 'Sleepwalking Sailors', to be released by their own record label, Rolf Neslund, in fall 2013. They chose the kickstarter format to raise the money to pay for recording, manufacturing, etc... and set their goal for $5000, which they hit in about a week. Anyone who still wants to help play a part in the outcome of the release has until Monday April 22nd to buy a copy HERE. The record bought in the pre-sale comes with a limited edition hand silk screened cover. 

If nothing else, the video is worth a laugh. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

0 PREMIERE: Prizehog - "Irrevelant"

As reported here on SRG a couple weeks ago, Portland based, Rabbits run Eolian Empire is releasing a mega-comp featuring 26 tracks by 26 of Portland’s heaviest, weirdest, and downright exciting underground bands. The label gave the 26 participants 10 weeks to write, record, and turn in their respective tracks and behold 99 minutes of crushing and chaotic beauty has come to fruition and is set for distribution on May 1st, 2013. Quite an amazing feat if you ask me.

Upon a quick glance of the track list provided HERE, you may recognize many of the bands, as a number of them have graced the pages of SRG in the past including -- Lord Dying, Norska, Diesto, Fist Fite, Gaytheist and of course Rabbits themselves. While it was a tough decision as to which track I would choose to premier and spotlight (thanks to Eolian Empire for getting us involved), the one that immediately stood out was a druggy and massively heavy track by Portland transplants Prizehog. On "Irrevelant", the San Fran natives meld some otherworldly King Buzzo riffs and industrial noise into a gnarly acid freak-out. It’s a stand-out track among many stand-out tracks, and they’ve got my attention for sure.

Here is the exclusive stream of Prizehog’s “Irrevelant”. The track can be found on “KEEP OUR HEADS: Heavy Vibes from Portland, Oregon” out May 1st on Eolian Empire.

The trio has records out on Gravity and Saint Rose Records and will be in Seattle May 10th at Black Lodge, joining them are Monogamy Party, Great Falls, and Same-Sex Dictator.

You can pre-order the comp on cassette (w/ digital download code) direct from Eolian Empire or pick one up at either of the two release shows planned for April 26th and 27th in Portland at Slabtown.

4/26/2013 @ Slabtown - Portland, OR w/ Acre, Ix, Norska, Hot Victory, Big Black Cloud, Gaytheist
4/27/2013 @ Slabtown - Portland, OR w/ Redneck, Sioux, Palo Verde, Towers, Honduran, Rabbits

Dig Prizehog? Learn more about the band, check out their tour dates, and buy records HERE. Also, keep up with Eolian Empire HERE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1 INTERVIEW: Jodi Ecklund of Chop Suey

“I just want it to be a rock and roll city again.  That’s what I hope for.”   

From the late nineties into the first few years of the new millenium, a venerable dive bar and rock/metal venue known as The Breakroom inhabited the current location of Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey on the corner of 14th and Madison.  A short walk from what could have been arguably lauded as the cultural center of Seattle—the short vein transecting the hill and flowing down Pike and Pine streets toward Downtown—The Breakroom put on many of the best shows offered during the “post-grunge” years. 

At the time, The Stranger columnist, Kathleen Wilson, wrote, “What sets the club apart is its unyielding dedication to presenting great bills that serve two purposes: providing bands with a comfortable, supportive place to play, and providing audiences with shows that do not offend their sensibilities.”  It’s strange to read that now, as the ensuing years since The Breakroom shut its doors in 2002 saw a distinct lack of congenial and supportive venues around town (with some notable exceptions, such as a then fresh-faced Funhouse).  Instead, a number of clubs were facing harder times, especially those offering rock line-ups, and began resorting to different booking angles and strategies.  This resulted in more bottom-line approach to talent-buying, and a generally dog-eat-dog temperament among the heavy music community.
In recent years, these tensions have dissipated to a great degree, with a clear resurgence of loud music and an increasing support system involving bands and showgoers alike.  One club that has adeptly caught on to this current trend is Chop Suey.  With the recent hiring of talent buyer, Jodi Ecklund, a series of rapid changes have occurred to not only increase its viability as a destination, but also to bring the location back to the very same values reflected in Ms. Wilson’s sentiment above.
Before a recent show featuring Vancouver’s raging Nu Sensae, I bent Jodi’s ear for a bit about what she had walked into when taking the job, what she sees happening in the local music scene, and where she hopes to take Chop Suey in the future.
“We made some changes internally, and now we have a pretty rockin’ team.”

After returning from a few years spent in the Bay Area last April, Jodi walked into Chop Suey looking for some part-time work, having set up a few successful events at the venue in the past.  Almost immediately, she noticed a few things that could change, but felt some trepidation about doing it herself, “They started to do a lot of DJs and house and it just seemed like they were taking whatever came their way and not being to creative about it.  I was just, like, ‘This place should be a rock club…’ I realized I couldn’t make any kind of changes with the club that I wanted to without it being full time.”  By October, Chop Suey owner, Koichi Tanaka, had offered her the full-time position.

Quickly accepting the offer, she had already identified many of the existing issues surrounding the business of the club and made some immediate changes, including the hiring of motivated young intern, Alex Barr, along with talent scout Brandon Rowley, and the implementation of a more proactive approach to booking and show promotion, “One thing that drastically had to change was the marketing; there was no marketing in place…So now what’s happening is when we discuss a show, we’re thinking about all the ways we can market that show.  That was never being done before. And, I mean, it doesn’t matter how good of a show it is—if it’s not being promoted right, no one’s gonna know about it, no one’s gonna come… I believe in ‘grass roots’ promoting.”  This new approach included a focus on the use of social media, building relationships with businesses and print media for posters and advertising, and even reaching out to labels directly to help promote their touring bands as they would swing through town. “I’m trying to get more creative in different ways to reach our audience, and that’s a big thing that’s helped us quite a bit.” 

She praises the knowledge base and drive of her scouting team to find bands, and stay on the cutting edge.  “We make hit lists together, all of us: me, Alex, and Brandon now.  We just kinda go after things; we can’t wait for it to just fall in our laps, you know?”  Alex plays in a popular local band, and Brandon  retains ownership of a record store in Idaho, giving them both involvement in, and deep access to the “outside” music world removed from any of the cliquish isolation that tends to manifest in clubs with weary or just less active booking agents.

From an audience perspective, one noticeable change has been an improvement in the room's sound.  Since bringing in the PA formerly used at the Crocodile, the mixes have been better and the bands can now definitely be heard.  She is hoping this is something that bands begin to notice, as well as the fans, “I think that it was just, like, everybody had kinda forgotten about us—because of the type of music that was in here, and all the DJs and all that—I think they kind of forgot, and they got it stuck in their head that it didn’t sound good here, you know?”
“I’m really passionate about making sure that we’re just…you know, nice!”

Despite what goes on behind the scenes at the venue, Jodi stresses that her main concern with the business is to adhere to a relaxed philosophy that holds both band and fan enjoyment as the highest priority.  “I think what also sets us apart is that I’m big on, like, I don’t wanna make bands start at 9 o’clock if there’s nobody here – I’m not a real stickler for ‘the rules.’” She draws a direct connection between how comfortable and welcome bands feel when they play somewhere and the quality of the show they perform, which is reflected in the mood and excitement of the patrons who will, in turn, be more or less likely to buy another round or two, stick around, and/or make a return trip.  She excitedly bursts out, “I’m a big fan of hospitality...we make all our money on drinking, we don’t make it on the artists, and we’re not trying to.  But the best things you can do for bands, and the people you want to be a part of what you’re doing is, you know, give ‘em some beers!”  This seems logical, but it flies in the face of the more venue-centric system that has crept into the local music industry over the years.

A large part of her compassion towards the musicians may be due to the fact that she is first and foremost a music fan, and knows what she wants to see, “I also come to every show I book… I realize that at least I’m booking things that I like!” She smiles, “And that’s important to me—I gotta be booking what I want if I’m gonna be here. But I think that’s something that was missing, you know, even when I play music: you don’t see the promoter, or the booking person at most shows.  The other guy that you see at shows all the time?  If I go to a show at the Crocodile, Hunter [Motto, talent buyer for the Croc]’s at the shows, every night.  I think that goes a long ways, you know?  Like, be there to shake their hands, build rapport, buy ‘em an extra couple beers, if that’s what it takes, but you want the people coming back, and you want them to tell their friends, and I think that’s what’s happening…”  Though she repeatedly praises clubs that are doing things the right way, there is a definite competetive element in her line of work, and she’s proud of the fact that they are able to offer some of, if not the fairest room rates for the capacity the Chop Suey can hold.  It falls in line with her assertion that giving the bands a break will pay off in the long run.

In return, this allows her to appeal directly to the folks walking in the door, “I am very passionate about keeping ticket prices down.  I figure, let the bar eat that, you know, couple hundred bucks, or whatever, so people come through the door and they’ll buy two extra beers.”  Looking back over the last 10 years, it is the clubs that worked hardest to appease these two fronts, rather than their bottom line, that managed to stay afloat, despite the recessions and a somewhat apathetic public attitude towards live music. “We’re trying to set ourselves apart right now, like maybe picking up where the Funhouse [left off],” she explains, referencing the beloved Seattle punk and rock venue that was recently forced to fold, not to lack of business, but to meet the needs of Seattle’s expanding condominium development wave. 

Though she likes to discuss what keeps her excited about the opportunities her efforts will be giving Chop Suey, Jodi remains modest about their position relative to their peers, “I think every venue has their own thing that they’re doing, and I think we’re still trying to define what I think that is for us.”  But, one thing that she can be assured of is that the trajectory is in the right general direction, “It’s nice when you see your hard work’s paying off, you know?  People are caring.  It's great when you look in the room, and you say, ‘There’s people that I want in this room!’”  When people who make it a point to go see the shows worth seeing start seeing shows at your venue, it serves as a decent bellweather for how well you are doing your job, especially when showgoers live in a city with enough nightlife to be such a discerning bunch…
“I think there’s a shift happening in general.”

“You know, I just think that there’s so many cool things going on… there’s something good going on in Seattle every night, I think,” she blithely offers, as we begin to discuss the current state of the local music scene.  Her personal tastes are made abundantly clear, as she goes on to praise various elements of the heavy music scene, from the Good To Die Records roster to the burgeoning, female-fronted noise punk scene out of Vancouver, B.C. “It almost feels like…even riot girl kind of stuff is coming back!” she almost whispers, as if stating it too loudly might jinx the movement.  Indeed, the recent growth in the PNW rock scene seems almost too good to be true, as these things typically meet an inglorious demise just as they start to coalesce, either by dissipating into fad-like irrelevance, or getting co-opted by a lower common denominator – which may just be what is currently happening to the indie explosion of the mid-’00s that kept heavier rock shows relegated to smaller, lower-profile venues.  Perhaps she is not so alone when she decries the "folkie" hegemony and optimistically adds, “I mean, I’m just so sick of hearing, like, these sad songs, and, you know, I just wanna see girls get up and have balls!…and there’s these bands!” she motions towards the stage, where Nu Sensae has set up their massive rig, “It’s being resurrected.”

When asked about how Chop Suey is looking to seize this opportunity and further help the scene thrive, she admits that it isn’t as hard now as it once was, “I think there’s just really good bands, really good talent coming out… and people seem real open-minded, you know, and I haven’t always seen that.  I feel like people are super open-minded to try on new things, like, ‘Yeah, maybe that’ll work,’ instead of being real snobby, like, ‘I only play with these bands, and I only play at these venues…’ it seems like people are more willing to give it a shot.”  This has made it easier to take risks, giving more bands a chance, with the minimal requirement that they simply rock.  And her enthusiasm for the future of the rock scene in Seattle is infectious.  It’s the kind of cheerleading that has been rampant amongst fans, musicians, bloggers, and all those involved over just the last few years.
Though she also admits that they have to keep a few of the regular DJ nights they have been hosting for years to help pay the bills on otherwise slow nights, Jodi is justifiably excited about Chop Suey’s expanding rock line-up over just the next few months.  With bands like Agalloch, Acid Mothers’ Temple, Bleached, Lord Dying, and The Kids, it’s an eclectic mix, to be sure, but it’s a solid one.  She smiles and exclaims in her continually jovial exuberance, “But on top of this, I’m doing the ‘Mo-Wave festival (see below) .  We just added Blackie, which is a Blondie cover band, but they’re all brunettes!”
“It’s so exciting – I might get to go to Japan some day!” 
At some point, Chop Suey General Manager, Hisato Kawaminami, had entered the room with a smile and sat down at his desk to finish up some work before the show.  Jodi asks me if I’m aware of the history of the venue, and they both proceed to relate the story of Koichi Tanaka, and his company, K’s Dream’s, purchase of a flailing Chop Suey in 2008.  Hisato had moved from Japan to Seattle to study English and helped Koichi find the location and start the business. The first few years were predictably difficult, as Hisato learned the business and the reputation of the club had to be built-up nearly from scratch.  As a die-hard rock fan, he is openly relieved to have Jodi around, “She’s making it happen!  Finally!  I feel like, finally, having Jodi on board, it’s going to change.” 
One of the goals for Koichi, when he originally purchased Chop Suey, was to use it to help provide a sort of bridge between Seattle and Japan.  He envisioned sending Seattle rock bands to tour Japan and have a nice Seattle home base for Japanese rock bands starting their U.S. tours.  It is a practice still in place today—Ex-Girlfriends are making their way through the Land of the Rising Sun as of this writing—and has given a number of bands a rare opportunity to see both sides of the Pacific.  This is especially true now that indiscriminate interest in just any old Seattle band (which existed in Japan for some time after the early-‘90s put us on the map) has waned.  There aren’t as many opportunities for smaller U.S. bands to pay off an expensive Japanese tour without assistance, and in many cases, there are roadblocks, as Hisato explains, “Some companies do some shady business, like, ‘Hey, I can book you guys, but you gotta pay…$1500 per person…’  But, we’re trying to eliminate those kind of shady businesses, and send good bands from Seattle to Japan.”  Jodi, especially, is excited about the prospect of traveling at some point during her tenure with the club, “I’ll find some reason [to go]!  Tour manage for a band or something!”
“We want to book shows that everybody wants.”
A low rumble comes down the hall towards the back office where we have been chatting, letting us know that the first band had started to play.  Jodi and Hisato, both smiling, look eager to catch them, and it becomes very apparent why the Chop Suey has been feeling so welcoming and comfortable over the last six months: it’s these guys.  I felt it, and it is why I wanted to talk to Jodi in the first place.  I get it now.  It is these guys, and their whole team.
As I pack up to head up to the bar to grab a tall-boy and check out Haunted Horses, Jodi stands to follow me out and says, “More than anything... I feel like we’re just trying to kinda create a buzz again about the place… and just trying to figure out how to get people back, and excited, and it generally feels like people are right now.” Hisato spins his chair toward me with a grin on his face and launches himself up to exit with us out into the pulsating noise, “Yeah, we are moving forward.  I’m super excited!”
Visit Chop Suey at:
'Mo-Wave begins Friday, April 12th!
Check out what the Stranger says HERE!
Buy tickets HERE!
Day 1:
Hosted By Queen Mookie
DJ's Bmorefree & Amateur Youth
Shearing Pinx (Van. BC)
Glitterbang (SEA)
Addiquit (SD)
My Parade (SEA)
Day 2:
Hosted By Ade
DJ Mister. Sister & KKost
Team Dresch(PDX)
Big Dipper (CHI)
Magic Mouth (PDX)
Night Cadet (SEA)
Erik Blood (SEA)
WishBeard (SEA)
Eighteen Individual Eyes (SEA)
WildRose Stage

Betsy Olson (SEA)
TenderFoot (SEA)
Butcher (SEA/PDX)
Blind Photographers (SEA)
Jordan 'O Jordan (SEA)
Day 3:
Hosted By Robbie Turner
Blackie A Tribute To Blondie (SEA/NYC)
Double Duchess (SF)
Dynasty Handbag (NYC)
The Redwood Plan (SEA)
PonyTime (SEA)
DickBinge (OLY)
Ade (SEA)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

1 TICKET GIVEAWAY: Yob | Lesbian | Samothrace

Perhaps it's the weather, or perhaps it's the relative distance and geographic isolation from the rest of the country, or perhaps it could even be the locale at the brim of the continent, with only the vast ocean to gaze upon... whatever it is, the Pacific Northwest has always been a fertile breeding ground for really doomy tunage.  In fact, it is not so bold to say that we have been home to some of the darkest, heaviest, and best doom bands to ever, you know, drearily march toward a gate to hell, in armor with chains and shit, oh, and with some sort of large anachronistic weapon slung across their spiked shoulder plates, or whatever...

Friday's show at the Highline is a fantastic showcase for what this murky place has to offer, featuring three of the finest bands specializing in doom and metal today.  In all honesty, both Portland's Yob and Seattle's own Lesbian tend to escape the narrow trap of "doom" and venture into more driving psychedelic and stoner realms these days.  All these cats have all been around a while, so they know good and well how to write an epic riff elegy without relying on some of the tired clichés otherwise so prevalent in the doom genre.  I mean, they still write long-ass songs, with thick, down-tuned chugging rhythms,and all that, but at least they go somewhere.  And man, it can be truly gorgeous when they get there.  You'll likely hear some dork use the tired term "eargasm" at some point after the show (and it could very well be a drunken me), but it is probably one of the few places that word is fitting.

Openers, Samothrace, stay a little closer to your traditional doom sound, but despite what I said above about the weary canon of the genre, even trad doom can be balls-out exciting when it is done right.  Soaring guitar freakouts and the swell and swoop of truly cathartic dynamics keep things from getting dull, and make this band just the first example of the evolution of a niche genre that you will only find in these Northwestern climes.  Just because we are home to many doom bands, doesn't mean they can't grow up while here.

If you want to have your head cleared, mind tickled, bowels moved, and experience all of the wonderful things that will happen during this show as you shut your eyes and imagine yourself wandering lost in a chilly windstorm on the Jovian moon of Europa, then follow the directions below.  Maybe we'll be able to hook you up with that.

***To enter the drawing for a pair of tickets simply send an email to jake@seattlerockguy.com with "Yob" as the subject and your full name in the body. Winners will be drawn this afternoon (Thursday) at 5pm, so hurry up. Good luck!***

Details:  April 5th – The Highline 21 + Only Infinite Productions Presents YOB, Lesbian and Samothrace. $12.00 adv. @ www.etix.com, The Highline, Zion’s Gate, Singles Going Steady and Sonic Boom. Tickets are on sale now. Doors: 8:00 p.m. Show: 9:00 p.m. Curfew: 1:00 a.m.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

0 NEWS: Eolian Empire to release worthy PDX compilation

We just received word that some of our buddies in Portland are preparing to release one badass mofo of a comp. Here's the catch phrase:

Eolian Empire KEEP OUR HEADS Compilation: 26 Portland Bands, 99-Minutes Of Bedlam

Bedlam, indeed. Almost 100 minutes!  

It's going to be available in two formats on May 1, digital and (*drum roll*) cassette. Yeah, man! You can totally burn it down the highway with this shit in the deck bangin' out fresh cuts from the likes of Crag Dweller, Diesto, Drunk Dad, Fist Fite, Gaytheist, Honduran, Hot Victory, Ix, Lord Dying, Nasalrod, Norska, Order of the Gash, Prizehog, Rabbits, Towers, and a bunch more!

KEEP OUR HEADS Track Listing:

side X:

Honduran – “No Man's Land”
Diesto – “Arrows”
Fist Fite – “Bitches Leave”
Humours – “In the Court of the Corn-Eyed King”
Drunk Dad – “S.O.U.”
Palo Verde – “Swimming in the Royal Academy”
Big Black Cloud – “Reptile Brain”
Lord Dying – “The Value of Pity”
Norska – “Eostre”
Towers – “Hell”
Tiny Knives – “Winter”
Redneck – “Princess”

side Y:

Sioux – “Ascension”
IX – “Robocrastinatortron”
The Ax – “Luminaries”

Order of the Gash, "In the Library of Leng: Vol 1 - The Hangman's Wine"
Sei Hexe, "Minutiae Obsession"
Prizehog – “Irrevela
Hot Victory – “The Cog”
Gaytheist – “Gimme Black My Blow”
Rabbits – “Drink, Drank, Drunk”
LKN – “Freedom Shot”
Nasalrod – “Suicidal Propaganda”
Crag Dweller – “The Animal”
Gone to Croatoan – “Poor, Poor Little Man”
Acre – “Heavy Day”

In case you feel like taking the trip down to the Rose City, there are a couple of shows to support this release:

4/26/2013 @ Slabtown - Portland, OR w/ Acre, Ix, Norska, Hot Victory, Big Black Cloud, Gaytheist
4/27/2013 @ Slabtown - Portland, OR w/ Redneck, Sioux, Palo Verde, Towers, Honduran, Rabbits

As usual, you should feel free to come down and hi-five the shit out of us.

Eolian Empire has a bunch of other good stuff coming down the pike, including a Drunk Dad album this summer. Keep an eye on them, folks.

Here's some links, if you want to check out more of what these dudes do:


Friday, March 22, 2013

0 SHOW PREVIEW: Federation X | The Valley | Tacos!

Hey, look at that, we have a show for you at the Sunset on Saturday!  We at SRG do our damnedest to bring only the most worthy bands to the stage, and this lineup is no exception.

Bellingham heroes, Federation X, have had a long history of rocking faces around the globe, and are coming back and gearing up for a long-awaited follow-up to their 2005 release,  Rally Day. And they're bringing power.  Check this shit out:

But, oh, what about The Valley?  Solid stoner jams.  I normally just try to not be lazy and to actually talk about the bands, but all these guys can speak for themselves better than I ever could.  Here:

Be sure to show up early enough to catch one of our very favorite bands, Tacos!, and have them wreck your shit.  If they don't shake a rhinestone or two from your bedazzled accouterment, I don't know what will.  Here, just...just click:

I don't care how Ballard-averse you may be, this is the show to catch this week.  Make a day of it!  Start at one end of Ballard Ave and hit each of the 17 breweries along that half-mile up to the Sunset; buy some records at tha Boom or Bop Street along the way.  Wave to the old folks who haven't moved or died yet!  But be sure to settle into the venue around show time, and feel free to prop yourself up on one of us -- we'll need a crutch ourselves.


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