Thursday, December 15, 2011

5 LIST MANIA: Jake Weller of ASVA

Jake also most recently played guitar in Consulate and Manos De Plata
Top shows of 2011 (in chronological order)

Harkonen (reunion)/Dog Shredder/Lozen/Swayze @ The Shakedown, Bellingham, WA March 18th
Seeing Harkonen reunite for the grand opening of the best damn venue in Bellingham was like headbanging through a dream. Of course, the dream-like quality of it all may have been due to me breaking my glasses, slamming multiple touchdowns to beat closing time, finding myself involuntarily seated in a drum circle at the after party listening to a gentleman by the name of Slacks perform a drunken love ballad to a friend, and finally, *deep breath* eating a Denver omelet at 4:30am in a downtown diner with some idiot sitting behind us trying to wow a couple of young girls with his extensive knowledge of PNW music history by telling them that Harkonen is made up of members of KARP, High on Fire, and These Arms Are Snakes.

Lesbian/Grayceon/Fight Amp/Dog Shredder @ Chop Suey, Seattle, WA May 6th
My friend Justin got taken down at this show. Hard. He was just standing there, jamming out to Grayceon, and lights out! The poor boy had fainted (from the sheer awesomeness of the rock!). I ran over to help him back to the bar and propped him up on a stool – he looked as pale as a ghost. After spending precious seconds making sure he’d survive, I gave him the ol’ “yeah, you’re gonna be fine” and ran back to continue freaking out about the guitarist’s pickless speed-riffing with the other music nerds in the room. I know: cool story! But see, every band absolutely killed it this particular night and yet, miraculously, Justin didn’t die.

Agnes Obel @ Fremont Abbey Seattle, WA June 10th
Now here’s something nobody really knows about: Agnes Obel is awesome. She’s Dutch, she has a cellist, and she played this show in an acoustically-rad church-type building. It’s probably not your thing if you are reading this here on SRG, but her album made my top 10 for this year.

Grenades/Monogamy Party/Princess/Bitches Crystal @ Black Lodge, Seattle, WA July 24th
Due to my extremely lenient stance on sobriety, I have trouble remembering a fair amount of some…okay, most shows I see. What I do remember of this one is that it was awesome, even if I later had to be told that Monogamy Party covered Shellac (though I was standing right in front during their entire set, ostensibly listening to every note). I also remember it taking my party a while to get home that night, seeing as how we had to lay down in a grassy parking strip for a good hour before one of our group was able to convince the rest of us she was sober enough to drive the car…which we then had to find. Ah, youth.

Queens of the Stone Age/Le Butcherettes @ The Showbox Market, Seattle, WA July 31st
At the all-ages show two days prior to this amazing night with QOTSA (who performed their eponymous debut album in its entirety), Le Butcherettes frontwoman inadvertently cut her head open on a cymbal during a song – thereby covering herself with blood – and jumped down into the audience to intensely serenade a very awkward and frightened young man. *sniff* I miss those guys.

Hammerhead/Helms Alee/Big Business/Kowloon Walled City/many others @ Totalfest X, Missoula, MT August 18-20th
This was my first trip out to Missoula for the annual three-day festival of punk/garage/metal bands from around the globe. It was like seeing a local show from everywhere at once. Extremely well run. Catching a dip in the river and afternoon barbecues with the bands really made it seem like a family affair. I can’t wait to go back.

Grenades/SLOTHS/Grandfather/Bitches Crystal @ The Josephine, Seattle, WA September 3rd
SLOTHS, a squadron of young firebrands from Portland, turned me into a blithering fanboy when their set reached its apex in the darkened chamber of the smoky Josephine. I couldn’t shut up about how amazing they were for the rest of the night. I might as well have been humping their legs while I chatted with them outside after the show.

Red Fang/The Anunnaki/Princess @ The Sunset, Seattle, WA September 4th
“Red Fang is playing a secret show at the Sunset during Bumbershoot this weekend. And yes, you really should buy tickets ahead of time.” So many of my friends failed to heed this advice, and all I could do was say, “Sorry,” when they were turned away at the door. Oh, and point and laugh, of course.

Helms Alee/Narrows/Constant Lovers/Spacebag @ Black Lodge, Seattle, WA October 19th
Helms Alee and NARROWS at the Black Lodge. ‘Nuff said.

Converge/Narrows/Black Breath/Heiress/others @ El Corazon, Seattle, WA December 9th
“You have all felt pain and loss, and this next song is about healing – music is about healing and making your life worth living!” I’m paraphrasing, of course (I was drunk), but it’s the sermonizing with this kind of schmaltzy positivity that definitely wouldn’t work for any band other than Converge. They do it at every show without fail, and it definitely does work for them. I am a fifteen-year old kid in the swaying throng of adult children at a Converge show – grinning from ear to ear, fist-pumping out the beat while pretending to sing along, and screaming “Woo!” in between songs.

Honorable Mention:

• DAN40 feat. Guns of Barisal/Swarming Hordes (reunion)/The Abodox/Great Falls/Spacebag @ The Funhouse, Seattle, WA November 19th

• SHELLAC @ The Vera Project, Seattle, WA October 27th

• Noise For The Needy feat. Akimbo/Princess/Smooth Sailing/others @ Underground Events Center, Seattle, WA June 11th

• John Wiese/Demian Johnston/others@ The Josephine Seattle, WA July 29th

• Smooth Sailing/Razorhoof/Moose Jaw @ Bar Eleven, San Diego, CA September 22nd

• KEN Mode/Deafheaven/Into the Storm/Cascabel @ The Funhouse, Seattle, WA June 1st

• Monogamy Party/Gaytheist/Consulate/Pouch @ 2Bit Saloon, Seattle, WA August 6th

• Smooth Sailing (record release)/Anadonia/Into The Storm @ The Sunset, Seattle, WA April 1st

• Helms Alee (CD Release)/Akimbo/Brothers of the Sonic Cloth/Norska @ Neumos, Seattle, WA July 5th

• Dozens more I can’t remember…

Top Albums of 2011 (in no particular order)

Smooth Sailing – XOXO
I was honored to be invited along with these guys when they went on a brief tour this summer. I got to hear this album live every night for a week. I never got sick of it.

Helms Alee – Weatherhead
I’ve heard some folks complain about this album being boring. I think it is one of the most impressive uses of dynamics by any band (especially a heavy one) in a long time. To each their own.

Sandrider – Sandrider
This may, in fact, be the best album of 2009. Of course, it only is just now seeing the light of day, thanks to the perseverance of a certain local music blogger. Objectively, this album just totally kicks ass.

Russian Circles – Empros
The day I got to listen to this album for the first time, I was also introduced to Brian Cook (bassist of RC). Taking a note from “Get Him to the Greek,” I simply said, “Brian Cook! I love your shit.” Yeah, I’m a dork, but I’ve wanted to use that one for a while now. I’m glad I was able to do so with sincerity.

Agnes Obel – Philharmonics
The first time I listened to this album was while walking towards downtown Seattle, during one of those dreary, misty, gray days we get around here – where the damp and cold bite to your bone. It was perfect.

Deafheaven – Roads to Judah
I am the only person in the world to have seen Deafheaven play Seattle three times in 2011. I will always go see Deafheaven play, thanks to the strength of their recordings.

Asva – Presences of Absences
Yeah, okay, full disclosure: I’m on this album—but only for, like, 10 minutes. The rest of it (especially the songs I am not on) is one of the most beautiful albums I have heard in a long time, and it was an honor to have been a part of it, even in such a small capacity.

Radiohead – King of Limbs
I love Radiohead. Some people found this album to be too challenging and lack cohesion. It clicked for me right away. Codex is still one of my most listened to songs.

Monogamy Party – Pus City
When I first saw Monogamy Party play, I thought that they might be a little gimmicky, relying on live performance – with a spastic, youthful energy throughout the entire set, and the lead singer stripping and lunging into the crowd. Listening to their demo EP (which contains many of the songs from this album) proved me wrong. It is pure electricity.

Red Fang – Murder the Mountains
“Wires” was the song of the summer for me. Every time I heard it, I wanted to drive through a hundred gallons of milk.


  1. I saw Deafheaven 3 times in 2011 and thought two of them were in Portland, their presence on the bill Neumo's opening for RC was the reason I paid my $12 even though I was in town visiting and completely broke. Excellent band, excellent dudes, excellent album.

    (Also, I've only heard one person complain about the new Helms Alee, and that person without question has the worst taste of any of my friends, haha.)

  2. Wow. *THAT* Radiohead release, really? Total snooze fest in my book. And yes you are dead on about weather head. It made my top 10 for collapse board.

  3. Very little in the way of metal though

  4. Jake here:

    I wish I hadn't done this list until after I saw Scratch Acid and Oxbow level Neumo's last night, but whatever.

    Wolfgang - I think I was in a crap mood or something during the RC show last month. I just couldn't get into it, for whatever reason, even though I love both Deafheaven and Russian Circles (though Crypts is a very different story).

    Conan - I know I'm in the minority with King of Limbs, but I didn't find it the least bit boring. I'm weird though, since I thought In Rainbows was the boring one. Nice Top 10, by the way. The Blind Shake were one of the best bands at Total Fest this year, and I keep forgetting how good Police Teeth are.

  5. I've just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers dancing on my desktop.



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