Reviews, Interviews & Features
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Video: “Drowning Horses” – Dusty Stray

Video by Martha Colburn for Dusty Stray song DROWNING HORSES from 2013 Basta Music release FAMILY ALBUM. Song produced by Kramer.

More Martha Colburn: http://www.marthacolburn.com

More Dusty Stray: http://www.dustystray.com

FAMILY ALBUM available here: http://www.bastamusic.com/product/dusty-stray-family-album

 

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Pickwick (Seattle)

pickwickPickwick

Rather than trying to mimic the Motown sound, Pickwick took what they loved, moved it to Seattle, and made it something of their own. Old school soul song writing and modern, very indie rock tones and instrumentation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRpo2zWZ6lc

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The Pollens (Seattle)

The PollensThe Pollens

The Pollens are pure joy presented in a dense rain forest of interlocking harmonies and rhythms, parts too close together to be considered separately. There are no trees here, only forest. With their heavy use of African rhythms and four-part harmonies, it’s easy to say they sound like the Dirty Projectors, but that’s only because there aren’t many groups doing this sort of thing, and the reason is that it’s damn near impossible to pull it off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RYS8BrK4LY

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Ravenna Woods (Seattle)

ravenna_woodsRavenna Woods

Ravenna Woods brings together geometric and organic constructs. The commonality between the complex interlocking grid of roots underneath a forest and the underground labyrinth of sewer pipes and fiber optic cables under a city. It’s big and dramatic and frightening yet oddly peaceful. Picture hurdling down an unknown river at night in a rickety canoe. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWaJ9DuzQrI 

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THEE Satisfaction (Seattle)

THEE Satisfaction

THEE Satisfaction

This entire recording glows and throbs. The beats are like a roaring fire adjacent to a bear skin rug. Hand percussion adds the smell of burning cedar. It’s the balls of late 70s funk mixed with a decidedly modern vocal style. The album is permeated by an underlying tone of soft aggression and general non-fuck giving.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC-lTwQ8Dt8

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Case and CTRL (Seattle)

Case and CTRLCase and CTRL

Blair Maman’s vocals bring to mind Jim James with a pinch of Cornell-esque grit (cheap Seattle pandering, check). The bass and drums carry the same weight as your standard rock fare while taking far more twists and turns. The ending of “Lonesome Sons” gives you the very real sense that something paranormal is happening right outside your window. The entire record is nerves and synapses firing down an endless array of jagged yet organic pathways (hyperbole, check.).

http://caseandctrl.bandcamp.com/

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Deep Sea Diver (Seattle)

Deep Sea DiverDeep Sea Diver

Jessica Dobson has toured with Beck and the Shins and had a major label deal at age 19. So she could’ve easily made a straight pop record and been commercially successful. Instead, she took more risks than your average bedroom recording, with odd time signatures and jagged guitars seamlessly dovetailing with pop melodies that feel like they belong to the 50s and 60s. Throw in a hint of soul and the occasional ragtime lilt, and I’m smitten. I will forever be a sucker for a woman with a smoky voice and a Jazzmaster.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuR4KKcogiY

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Album Review: Cosmonauts – Persona Non Grata

a2358890083_2Cosmonauts’ Persona Non Grata is a welcome addition to the drone pop/psych catalog, partly due to the fact that it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the lot. Yes, it happens to have deadpan vocals and repetition and simplicity. But it’s a little too focused and a little too punk to be able to simply say “check this out if you like Velvet Underground.”

You can say “check this out if you like bass that’s more weight than funk and drums that have enough stomp and pulse to be more mechanical than electronic.” The record isn’t predictable, but there’s a tendency for the songs to go like this: some sort of deceptively gentlemanly opening holds the door for a rhythm section that would have kicked it in anyway. “Shaker,” “What Me Worry,” and “Dirty Harry” are as immediate/accessible as it gets, but if you’re a lyrics guy, don’t miss “Pure Posture.” And if you listen to it start-to-finish, “My Alba” tends to be the deciding track; depending on your tastes, it makes you feel certain that this is either a great album or a totally disposable album (which, in a way, proves that it’s great).

Regardless of whether or not you think it sounds good or important, the interesting thing about Persona Non Grata is how two-faced (in a good way) it plays. “Wear Your Hair Like a Weapon” is the condensed/obvious example of this. But more generally, it turns out that with Persona Non Grata, giving a huge fuck sounds a lot like giving no fuck.

Cosmonauts

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Don’t Talk To The Cops (Seattle)

dont-talk-to-the-cops-600x256Don’t Talk To The Cops

Humor in music isn’t often done this well; it usually comes at the expense of either the music or the lyrical content. Subject matter usually involves some wacky sexual preference of the narrator (see it’s funny because normal people aren’t into obese/ugly/wooden-legged women/men/beef carcasses). There are a whole slew of hip-hop artists who inject moments of humor into an overall chauvinistic and/or preachy and/or excessive-on-the-bravado pallet. Don’t Talk To The Cops manages to be both hilarious and sonically interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnMMk2MQ1C8

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Betty Who – Sweet Tea Session

The Sweet Tea Sessions from Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie presents live performances from great musicians from all over the world in unique locations around Washington, DC.

Betty Who

Betty Who – Sweet Tea Sessions from MISSION MAN MEDIA on Vimeo.

 

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