Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Dance Imperative

Let's get crazy. Come with me now, on a journey of sound. A Eastern Washington. Yeah, I know.

The Dance Imperative was an early 2000s Tri-Cities indie rock band of the Seldom or Pedro the Lion variety. They were fronted by Ryan Phillips, who would later play in current Fleet Foxes bassbeard Christian Wargo's post-Scientific project Crystal Skulls, along with Casey Foubert and Yuuki "I'm in the Shins, now guys" Matthews, both of the great and aforementioned Seldom. Crystal Skulls were buddies with and toured with Pedro the Lion - actually every Skull except Phillips also played in Pedro at some point. So it all makes sense, at least if you can follow that poorly structured run-on sentence.

This was TDI's only record, a self-released 6-song EP called Empty Tracks. Ryan Phillips on guitar and vocals, Nathan Lowe on drums, Joel Waltrous on bass and keys.

Along with the embedded videos below, I found a fun 2002 write-up of the band (titled "Mallrats Rock Out"), who'd just shared a bill with Joy Electric and Rand Univac, a band notable for briefly featuring Stones Throw Records' James Pants, and for spawning the jazzy dance band/analog gear repository Velella Velella.

Download The Dance Imperative's EP Empty Tracks here.

"I Left the Platform: Took the Stage"

"Making Up My Mind"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

All That Was Built Here - Ten Years At The Old Fire House

If you grew up in the greater Seattle area and attended all ages shows during the era that this blog covers, chances are you spent some time at the Old Fire House teen center in Redmond. Today's offering is the Old Fire House benefit compilation that was released in the early 2000's and features 24 blasts of nostalgic noise. The track listing features pretty much every amazing local band I remember seeing there in those days: The November Group, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Sicko, Botch, Gas Huffer, Teen Cthulhu, Undertow, Waxwing, Akimbo, Automaton, Murder City Devils...etc

All That Was Built Here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Praise of Folly

Benjamin Verdoes is a busy guy these days, between his new solo record and the upcoming debut record from Iska Dhaaf, his duo with Nathan Quiroga (better known to many by his Mad Rad nom de mic Buffalo Madonna). Before these ventures. Verdoes was the frontman for Mt Saint Helens Vietnam Band, but this post goes back further, to a little band called In Praise of Folly.

IPOF were essentially a melodic indie rock three piece, consisting of Benjamin and Peter Verdoes of Stanwood, plus Wisconsin transplant Matt Dammer, who would later co-found Mt Saint Helens Vietnam Band. There was always a fourth member, but it was a revolving door of drummers until Benjamin moved from guitar to drums, at which point the revolving door become one of guitarists and bassists, depending on which of the two instruments Peter was settled on at the time.

They put out two albums on Lujo Records, in 2003 and 2005, the first, The Present Age, being melodic, intertwined guitar focused, reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate's How it Feels to Be Something On LP. Somewhere between the first and second record, Means/Ends, they discovered math rock, and thus added to their sound a lot of shifting time signatures, angular guitar riffs, and generally more complex song structures.

Here's In Praise of Folly playing at The Paradox in July of 2004. For those extra interested, there's a few minutes at the end of short candid clips during a recording session for their second album, Means/Ends.

And here's another set from the same era, performing at the Graceland in August of 2004.

Download In Praise of Folly's CD-R EP here.

You can listen to both In Praise of Folly albums on Spotify, as well as Benjamin Verdoes' new album, The Evil Eye.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Personal Message from Zardoz, Plus Video Roundup #2

We got 99 posts and, uh, this is one. I'm going to let Mr. Rambo have the centennial post, but before the videos, I just want to say a little something in the holiday spirit.

I'm not sure when exactly I found Arthur Rambo's blog. Back then it was called He/Sheattle. I think it was around the time of the Doomsday 1999 post. I'd loved that band, and was trying to find out what became of them. (I did find, eventually, that the charismatic frontman Zack Carlson moved to Texas, worked with the amazing film fans at the Alamo Drafthouse, and, oh yeah, WROTE THE BOOK ON PUNKS IN FILM.)

I poked around the previous posts, and added it to my Google reader. It didn't take long for me to notice that Arthur was posting about a lot of bands that I knew at some level personally around high school and college. Raft of Dead Monkeys, The Prom, Drowning in Lethe, The Vogue, Soiled Doves, Suffering and the Hideous Thieves. The list goes on. Once he posted about March 15th and Portal, I knew something was up. Either I knew Arthur or I WAS Arthur. I contacted him, and as it turns out, I wasn't him, but I did indeed know him. Let's just say we had once shared a fleeting affinity for lawn bowling. Longish story. So anyway, before long I was in the proverbial Wonkavator, posting about my favorite things, from the lone album by Display (who, unbeknownst to me when I wrote the post, were actually back together after nearly 10 years and a few months away from playing shows) to the Christmas EP by Fishboy and Carleen Jean Death Machine.

Of my 19 posts, the most popular one is clearly the unreleased Jough Dawn Baker LP. As far as I know, this had only been in the hands of friends of the band, and we were fortunate enough to be the first blog to post it online. This is the kind of thing that gets me excited about posting here. It's our hope that those of you who like this blog will check out and like our Facebook page (we post extra stuff there), tell your friends, and mostly importantly, SHARE YOUR STUFF WITH US. Demos, unreleased/unfinished albums, self-released records, scans of flyers, stickers, photos of shows, VHS tapes, whatever you have. If you can't get it into a digital format, we can help. We just want to be a conduit for all the amazing post-grunge music. This is for everyone who spent their nights at the Old Firehouse, The Grange, Ground Zero, The Velvet Elvis, RKCNDY, and The Paradox.

So, I guess this has turned into my Thanksgiving post. I'm thankful for Arthur for inviting me to write here, for all the people who've made the great music we get to share, and for you, for sharing our love of this stuff.

Now, as inferred by the title of this post, for those who don't haven't liked us on Facebook or may have missed some posts, here's the second batch of videos I've posted from my own VHS tapes.

Raft of Dead Monkeys - Reunion show 1-03-04 at Studio 7

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves - Las Vegas 9-23-03

Roadside Monument - Vancouver 11-13-97 (plus the set that night from the band they opened for, The Promise Ring.)

Pedro the Lion - Vancouver, B.C. 1/31/98 

Pedro the Lion - Vancouver, B.C. 10/11/98

Pedro the Lion - Seattle 6/25/99

The Rapture 10-01-2001 at The Paradox. A bit of a cheat, but they were a Seattle band a couple years before this show.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rats and Children - Demo tape

Rats and Children or Dovetail or whatever name we happened to be arguing about during our brief existence was a sloppy political punk band that I played in with a some high school friends during the Winter of 2000. I remember I was sitting at home one weekend, probably watching t.v. or something when I heard a knock on the door. Four of the buddies that I ate lunch with every day were standing there. "You wanna play drums in a band?" one of them asked me. "Sure," I said. And with that they unloaded a bass, a guitar and a couple of practice amps and we set up next to the drums and p.a. in my basement.

Musically, we were all coming at it from totally different places - the singers wanted to be The Blood Brothers and one of them also seemed dead set on being the next Jello Biafra, the bass player had been obsessed with Rancid & was really into the Subhumans, the guitarist was into Melt Banana, Judy Garland & the opera Carmina Burana and I was on an 80's new wave, San Diego screamo and The Doors kick. We'd all met each other at various points leading up to forming the band over a mutual love of punk rock, rebellion and feeling like social outcasts, the typical high schoolers-forming-a-band cliché.

When the group got started, we were all hanging out, reading zines & Zinn and sharing tapes. I remember us listening to stuff like Crass, Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Zounds, EC8OR, maybe even some Prince... we had vague intentions of being a 'peace punk' band but, aside from some of the patches we'd sewn to our clothes and the overtly political lyrics, I don't think it ever really ended up being that. Basically, it was a weird mix that kind of worked for little while.

The first five tracks on this tape were recorded on a strategically placed boombox during one of our early practices - Dec. 3rd, 2000 according to my notes on the tape. The highlights include our cover of "Breakin' the Law" sandwiched in between a Spice Girls medley and, arguably, our best original song "Pickled Babies." The sixth and final track, "Socialists For Nader," is from a different tape and it serves as a very rough idea for a new song that never fully came to be - before devolving into an impromptu partial cover of Atari Teenage Riot's "Revolution Action." I think it was probably recorded at our final practice around the beginning of '01.

The reasons the band fell apart were numerous and also pretty typical but in the end we just weren't getting along. I've heard it said that the best way to ruin a friendship is to live with someone but, in my experience, another surefire way to test that bond is to play together in a band - especially one in which there's no clear musical direction and several clashing egos. Though we tried, we never played any shows and only a handful of people ever saw us rehearse or even heard this tape. I don't know if there will be much interest in this slice of goofy, amateurish, noisy punk rock but for me it's something I'm still glad to have been a part of.
-Oliver aka Arthur Rambo

Rats and Children demo

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Videos, Videos, Videos

We've been busy digitizing video tapes of old shows, and posting them one by one on our Facebook page. These are all videos shot by us or by friends back in the day. They have not been on Youtube previously. More to come, and more-er to come if you have stuff to share. We could even digitize tapes for you if it's stuff worth posting.

Like our page to see the newest videos as they arrive, and feel free to leave a comment or send us a Facebook message if you have video or audio you'd like to share, and tell your friends if you want to see what this community can uncover. We've been told that all RKCNDY shows were videotaped. Any leads on those?

Alright, without further ado, here's a roundup of what's been posted so far.

The final Raft of Dead Monkeys show, not counting the one-off reunion show, which I also have, and will post later.

If you went to the Tri-Way Grange a lot in the late 90s, there's a good chance you saw Luner Lander. If you're reading this post, there's a 100% chance you are seeing Luner Lander. 

Before Parenthetical Girls, there was Swastika Girls. Here's a song from their second show ever, featuring Eric Yates (Portal, Male/Female) on the left and Jeremy Cooper (Display, The Past) on the right. The song was later on the debut Parenthetical Girls EP.

I filmed nearly all of FCS North's Bumbershoot set in 2001 before my battery died. I used to see these guys play all the time. Not sure what they thought of themselves, but we thought of them as Seattle's kings of post-rock.

It's always interesting to see an effects-heavy band play without any of those layers. Here's an early Display show, their only acoustic set, thrown together for an acoustic-themed house show. 

Here's a 2003 set from Chromatics, during one of the lineup phases after everyone not named Adam Miller left to form Shoplifting, and before Johnny Jewel joined the band. I believe it's Nat Sahlstrom on bass and Ron Avila (Get Hustle, Antioch Arrow, etc) drumming.

The final show from Jim Paschall and Jeremy Cooper's pre-Display band, The Past.

Bonus video: video: Black Eyes at the CoCA in 2003. Though not a Seattle band, this show was part of a series of amazing shows put together by Parenthetical Girls' Zac Pennington, who handles the opening remarks here. If you attended these Slender Means Society or Loss Leader shows, particularly the all-day themed event shows at Secluded Alley Works, we'd love to see whatever pictures or videos you have. Carrie Brownstein's first-ever solo show at the lady-focused one, the kissing booth at the love one, the geodesic dome and costumes at the post-apocalyptic one, the one where Phil Elvrum (pre-Elverum) played the last few songs of his set while hoisted 10 feet in the air, upside down, held up by audience members with a rope and pulley? Those were amazing shows

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Male/Female - First show since 2007

When Jim Paschall moved back to Seattle recently, he didn't just get Display back together, he also un-dormanted (I swear that's a word. Go ahead and challenge, man, you're just gonna lose a turn.) his other band from the same era, Male/Female. Initially a side project where he could play mainly guitar (he played bass in Display), Male/Female continued after the breakup of Display, and released one (to my knowledge) CD-R EP in 2006, Slow it Down in the Mineral Bath. 
Along with Paschall, the art noise kraut groove punk foursome comprised Eric Yates, formerly of Portal and recently of Tit Pig, on synths, bass, and sometimes guitar, Emily Lohuis on drums (now Emily Moore, as she is married to Display's drummer Danny, thus obligating them to regular marital drum-offs), and John from the New Avenues, whose guitar duties have been handed over to Colby Ford for M/F V2.

Download the 2006 EP here. Go to their Bandcamp site to hear a few more, including the one embedded below, a personal favorite.

Male/Female play The Black Lodge this Saturday, August 17th, with Grave Matters and Sweet Weapons. 9pm.