Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bummershoot or Bumbershoot? A tale of two festivals

Everyone is familiar with Seattle's signature music and arts festival, Bumbershoot. This year, the city's DIY community is pulling together to put on their own concurrent festival, tongue-in-cheek titled "Bummershoot". The lineup is impressive - if you're new to the Seattle music community, this is an excellent place to get schooled. Not only are the bands great, but you get a preview of all these great venues! Hollow Earth Radio, Heartland, Black Lodge, and The Josephine.

Friday, August 30TH
Try The Pie (8pm)
Briana Marela (8:30)
Pleasure Beauties (9:00)
Viviane James/White Boy Scream performance piece (9:30)
The Webs (10:00)

Saturday, August 31ST
ACOUSTIC SHOW @ THE MEDIAN ON RAVENNA(Next to Trading Musician)--12 PM
Pitschouse (12pm)
Younger Shoulder (12:30)
Neighbors (1pm)
Waxing Hearts (1:30)

Children Of Kids (2pm)
Shenandoah Davis (2:30)
Tummy (3pm)
Punishment (3:30)
Blooper (4pm)
Hibou (4:30)
RC Love and The Goodness Gracious (5pm)
Heavy Petting (5:30)
PLUS: Gold Van Records will be there to sell you records, and a Boating With Clyde episode screening

Mega Bog (9pm)
Thee Semidi (9:30)
Mines (10pm)
Dharma (10:30)
Dude York (11pm)
So Pitted (11:30)

Sunday, September 1ST
Whitney Ballen
Slashed Tires

Shonny & The Bad Boy (7pm)
Craig Salt Peters (7:45)
Erin Tanner Performance (8:30)
Tweens (9:15)
Swamp Meat (10pm)
Chung Antique (10:45)
Iji (11:30)
Koda Sequoia (12:15)

And then there's Bumbershoot. I have so much love for that festival. Yes, it gets crazy busy. But for good reason! There is something for everyone, and every year I have gone I've discovered a new band that I absolutely loved. However, this year, you'll find us at Bummershoot half the time and the rest of the weekend we'll be out in nature on the peninsula. There are a lot of great Bumbershoot features this year, but I personally wasn't thrilled with any of the acts. Death Cab playing Transatlanticism might have drawn me in alone, but we were just lucky enough to see Ben Gibbard and the rest of Postal Service, so I'm good. However, if you are headed there yourself, here are my recommendations:

2:45 - Diamond Rings
3:30 - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
4:30 - Beat Connection
8:00 - Gary Numan
9:00 - Washed Out
10:00 - Crystal Castles

11:45 - Kithkin
1:00 - The Mowgli's
1:45 - The Round (or Ramona Falls at the same time, or Tegan and Sara at 2:00)
3:30 - Midday Veil
4:30 - Katie Kate
5:00 - The Commettes
6:15 - Bob Mould
8:00 - The Breeders
9:45 - Death Cab plays Transatlanticism

11:45 - Hot Bodies In Motion
12:15 - Bellamaine
1:45 - The Men (or alt-J at 2:00)
3:30 - MGMT
7:00 - Superchunk
8:00 - Allen Stone
10:00 - The Joy Formidable

Plenty of other great stuff to fill in the gaps. I highly recommend catching a SIFF movie or two (the shorts are always really great). Plenty of comedy and interesting discussion/seminars, too. So long as it doesn't rain too hard, you can have a great time at Bumbershoot! Heck, even just laying out on the lawn, gazing up at the Space Needle, eating delicious food truck food...yeah. Find time to do that, too.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Artist Interview: Jack Swart from Mitts

Left to Right: Spike Miller, Brittian Piper, Jack Swart, Jack McKool, Doug Barber

Seriously, how do you not love Mitts? The Seattle-based quintet is living proof that indie-pop charm, alt rock intensity, and oddball, art-punk antics are not mutually exclusive targets. On their second LP, and third proper release, E-Motions, the band delivers 7 new tracks filled with their trademark nasally vocals, left-field tempo changes, and head-scratching song titles like “Sit In Your Mouth” and “Boobs on TV”. It is an undeniably awesome record that I've had real trouble staying away from since it was released last month, so I decided to contact the band and see if they would be willing to talk about it. I caught up with Jack Swart in the middle of their ambitious, 7,000 mile, cross-country tour a few weeks back to talk about the project. (Note: both of Mitts' releases are available on their bandcamp as "name your price" downloads, but give'em a couple of bucks if you can afford it.)

What’s the story behind you guys getting together? Also, your work with Jack and Doug as Spillway is really killer too; was there any new lyrical or musical territory you three wanted to explore as Mitts?
Yeah, Jack, Doug, and I moved up to Seattle to pursue music and met Tom McDonald and Ryan Mortensen once we got here. That's how Spillway got started.

Mitts started with Jack and I recording a few songs together ("Eyedeas", "Bicket Face", and "Tube Man") and then we got Doug, Brittian Piper (What What Now and Walter and Perry), and Alex Khunprachansri to play with us, and we recorded Romulan. After Alex moved to Chicago, Spike Miller (Herocop and Walter and Perry) started playing with us and we recorded E-Motions.

As far as writing goes, we try to keep it collaborative. Jack or I end up writing a lot of the songs, Jack more than me. "Kick Your Face" and "Chops" were written as a team but "OhyeahOhyeahOhyeah" and "Boobs On TV" are songs Jack wrote and Doug and I helped record. We haven't actually figured out how to play them live yet.

Mitts is definitely at its root meant to be just a fun pop punk band. There are songs like "Kick Your Face", which has lots of Kung-Fu and video game references. "Animals" (from Romulan) is about animals. We try not to take things too seriously. Some songs might have a deeper significance, but we tend to bury it under images until it's probably indecipherable. Maybe that's weird, I don't know.
Jack Swart (L) and Doug Barber (R) at Blue Moon on 8/23

Even so, both Romulan and E-Motions still manage to feel like discrete and incredibly cohesive units. Would you say that there is an overall theme on either record, or does it just come together like that?
Romulan didn't really have much of a theme. The recordings on that album were recorded in batches over a longer period of time, whereas the songs on E-Motions were, except for "Kick Your Face", recorded pretty much in tandem. Also, Spike replacing Alex changed the dynamics pretty significantly. Both of them are great guitarists, but I feel you can definitely notice the the stylistic differences.

I understand you guys are in the midst of a pretty ambitious tour at the moment. How's it been going?

Tour has been great! We're on the road with Koda Sequoia, Spike and Doug's other band with Joshua Costa. They're awesome. We left on July 10th and booked it to the Midwest, hitting up Missoula and Fargo on the way. We're a little more than half way through now. We're leaving from New York today so I guess we're starting a slow trek home. We'll be playing in some smaller towns on the way to Denver, followed by Boise and Portland before we get back to Seattle on August 2nd. Lots of fun.

That sounds like a massive undertaking for an independent band, even with your collective experience. How did you book it? Anything different you'd do next time? Any particularly memorable shows?
Well, we booked a lot of the tour through friends and friends of friends, but there were plenty of shots in the dark too. Websites like are pretty handy. Probably for every twenty e-mails we sent out we would get one response, and it was usually no. Yet, people were pretty helpful with pointing us in the right direction.

The biggest regret we have is, oddly, bringing too many pairs of pants. It's so hot! We keep cannibalizing jeans into jorts.

Top: E-Motions, 7/13; Bottom: Romulan, 3/12
Probably the coolest show we've had so far was at Trumbullplex in Detroit. It's one of the oldest DIY spots out there, it's awesome. We played with Tyvek and The Cray Crays, both of whom blow minds. Moorhead was a pretty fun show too. It was a six band basement show that we played with Eidelons from Portland and some other pretty cool bands.

That must have been amazing; I love Tyvek! I hope were not gonna lose Mitts, or Koda Sequoia for that matter (who also have a great new record out) to another city anytime soon?
Nope, I don't think we're going anywhere soon. Spike and Josh are both from Detroit though, that's how we got hooked up with the show.

So, back to fundamentals: are their any plans for a physical release for E-motions? If so, with whom, and why?
Actually, week have physical copies. I designed them using a template, printed them off, assembled them, etc. Lots of time and trial and error went into it, but I think they turned out well all things considered. It definitely has that special DIY feel. We've also been selling buttons with download codes.

Finally, I think people love your music because it is so unique; you guys have an uncanny ability to assimilate twee jangle, punk austerity, experimental sound samples...really whatever you a seamless and engaging way. How do you describe your sound?
Super future.

Thanks again for talking with us, Jack. Stay safe on the road home!  
JS: Thanks, Tyler!

Mitts at Blue Moon on 8/23

Saturday, August 24, 2013

*Updated 8/24* Upcoming Seattle Shows

Millions. of. Dead. Cops; if you were once young, rage this coming Saturday night at the Highline at their Punk as Fuck Fest featuring all the living members of the legendary Texas punk band. While were talking about alternative approaches, let's talk about Bummershoot. No, you didn't read that wrong, I said Bummershoot; it's a festival coordinated by our city's best DIY venues in order to bring you everything that Bumbershoot can't provide. It's cheap, and just look at the line-up! Other thoughts: The Beach Boys are sort of coming to town, but since Mike Love fired the rest of the band no one cares; Vermillion Art Bar is hosting their newly founded "The Deep End" electro-night featuring the artist behind our most recent SWL post, Casewag; those who need still more dance music should head over to MOTOR VII at LoFi on Wednesday. Finally, on the 31st there are two more amazing options: the experimental/noise-a-thon at the Josephine featuring NGD favorite Stalebirth, Rainbow Wolves, Friend Enforcer; or, the Grave Babies, Jetman Jet Team show at Victory Lounge. In a perfect world both shows would be packed, but given the competing Bummershoot events both will probably need support from everyone else. More below; have a great week!

Slack Fest, Stanwood, WA, August 23-24
Bumbershoot, Seattle Center, August 31-September 2
Bummershoot: Hollow Earth, Ravenna Park, Heartland, Black Lodge, Fusion Cafe, Fremont Bridge and The Josephine, August 30 to September 1, Seattle, WA

25 Black Nite Crash, Dead Teeth, Yonder at The Comet
25 The Beach Boys (Note: Love kicked the other BB out so it’s just him and Bruce Johnston) at Snoqualmie Casino Mountain View Plaza  
26 Whirr, Nothing, Vibragun, and Nostalgist at Vera Project
27 Chastity Belt Release show with Dude York and Ubu Roi at Barboza
28 The Deep End with Casewag, Anthony Robinsion, and Evan Diehl at Vermillion Art Bar
28 Danzig with Scar the Martyr and Huntress at Showbox SoDo
29 MOTOR VII feat. Pete Swanson at LoFi Performance Gallery
29 MTNS, Elephant Rifle, Haunted Horses, and Big Trughk at The Comet
30 Terminal Fuzz Terror, Cerberus Rex, Noise-A-Tron and WEED at Black Lodge
30 Bummershoot! Try the Pie, Briana Marela, Willpower, The Webs, and Viviane James at Hollow Earth Radio
31 Bummershoot! Waxing Hearts, Lexi Lee, Pitschouse, and Neighbors at the median next to the Trading Musician (noon)
31 Bummershoot! Blooper, Tummy, RC Love, Hibou, Punishment, and Heavy Petting at Heartland (2 to 7)
31 Shenandoah Davis, Younger Shoulder, and Children of Kids at Heartland
31 Bummershoot! Mines, Dharma, Night Surf, Lozen, and So Pitted at Black Lodge (9 to 1)
31 Punk as Fuck Fest Ft. the legendary Millions of Dead Cops at Highline
31 Feral Children, Dada Trash Collage, PonyHomie at Sunset Tavern
31 Cold Cave at Neumos
31 Rainbow Wolves, Friend Enforcer, Stalebirth, Power Animal, and Brevrkor at The Josephine
31 Grave Babies, Teepee, Red Traces, Jetman Jet Team at Victory Lounge
Music Fest NW, Portland (multiple venues), September 4-8
Rifflandia, Victoria, BC, September 12-15
Redhook Sausage Fest 2013, Redhook Brewery, Woodinville, WA, September 14
Decibel Festival, Seattle (multiple venues), September 25-29

1 Bummershoot! Freak Vibes, Agatha, The Samedi, and Mega Bog at Fusion Cafe (1 to 6)
1 Bummershoot! Whitney Ballen and Slashed tires at Fremont Bridge (7)
1 Bummershoot! Craig Salt Peters, iji, Koda Sequoia, Chung Antique, Erin Tanner, Shonny & The Bad Boy, Tweens, and Swamp Meat at Josephine
4 Titus Andronicus and Special Guests at the Vera Project
4 Austra with Diana at Neumos
4 Titus Andronicus and Special Guests at Vera Project
5 Godspeed You Black Emperor with Total Life at Showbox SoDo
5 The Psychedelic Furs at Showbox at the Market
6 Chvrches, and XXYYXX at Showbox at the Market
6 Bleeding Rainbow at Barboza
6 Weapons of Mass Destruction, Menami, and Karmedic at Atlas Clothing
6 Sonny and The Sunsets, Love as Laughter, and Memories at The Tractor
6 Youth Lagoon with Pure X at Neumos
7 Muhammadali, Lindseys, Wasted USA, and Bad Future at Black Lodge
7 Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Mount  Eerie at Neptune
7 Ty Segall with Mike Donovan (Sic Alps) at Neumos
9 WHY? with Lovers Without Borders at Neumos
9 High Wolf, Chicaloyoh and Wott at Electric Tea Garden
10 The Weeknd at Paramount
11 Heatwarmer album release show with Baby Gramps at Neumos
12 DJ Shadow All Basses Covered 2013 DJ Set at Neumos
14 James Murphy DJ set with Shit Robot at Neumos
14 Monogamy Party (record release), Gaytheist, and Haunted Horses at Chop Suey
15 Julia Holter at Barboza
17 Blondie at King County’s Marymoor Park
17 Woods with The Fresh and Onlys at Barboza
18 Neko Case at Paramount
19 Porcelain Raft at Barboza
19 Lori Goldston, Cock & Swan, Ionophore, and Corey Brewer at Heartland
19-20 The National at Paramount
20 Bugerama Caravan of Stars Tour: The Growlers, Cosmonauts, Gap Dream, Pangea, La Luz, The Memories, and Colleen Green at Neumos
21 The Vibrators, New Iron Front, and No Buffer at El Corazon
21 Augustus Blackheart, Basement Party, Pitschouse, and Lucarne at Cafe Racer
22 Youryoungbody with Kelli Frances Corrado, Golden Gardens and DJ Ea$y Iri$ at Barboza
23 Savages at Neumos
25 Dirty Beaches, SISU and Chasms at Barboza
25 Evian Christ, Vessel, and The Haxan Cloak at Chop Suey
25 Guttermouth, Agent Orange and more at El Corazon
26 Teenage Bottlerocket, The Queers, and more at El Corazon
27 Little Boots with Light Asylum and Young Galaxy at Neumos
27 Ecstatic Cosmic Union with DJ El Hefe and Guests at Cafe Racer
28 Kinski, with Unnatural Helpers, Big Eyes, and Trash Fire at The Sunset Tavern
28 Gold Panda with ODesza and Abbott at Neumos
28 Db Festival 2013: Hush Hush Showcase with Cyril Hahn, Ryan Hemsworth, Kid Smpl, DJAO, and Domokos at The Crocodile

City Arts Fest, Seattle (multiple venues), October
Hypnotikon: Seattle Psych Fest, Triple Door, Seattle, October 11-12

2 Pet Shop Boys at Paramount
7 Christian Death with guests at El Corazon
9 Disclosure at Showbox Sodo
9 Delorean at Neumos
10 Godflesh with Prurient and Nails at Neumos
10 Fucked Up with Terror and more at El Corazon
10 Karl Blau at The Tractor
11 GWAR with Whitechapel, Iron Reagan, and A Band of Orcs at Showbox SoDo
11 Princess with Pipsisewah at Blue Moon
15 La Luz at Sonic Boom--Free
15 Holy Ghost! at Neumos
15 Crystal Stilts at Barboza
18 Hunx & His Punx, Wimps, and Coconut Coolouts at Chop Suey
23 Keep Shelly in Athens and Chad Valley at Barboza
23 Empire of the Sun at the Paramount
23 Braids with Hundred Waters and Special Guests at The Sunset
23 Widowspeak, and Pure Bathing Culture at Chop Suey
23 Haim at Neumos
23 Walk the Moon at Showbox SoDo
25 Cocorosie at Neumos

2 SoMo and special guests at Vera Project
6 Of Montreal at Neumos
11 White Lung, and Antwon at Barboza
12 Toro Y Moi and Classixx at Showbox at the Market
12 Crocodiles at Barboza
15 Jessie Ware at the Neptune
20 James Blake at Showbox at the Market
20 Vienna Teng at Neptune
20 Bill Callahan with Mick Turner at Neumos
22 Blues Control at The Tractor

107.7 The End's Deck the Hall Ball, Seattle, December