Friday, November 7, 2014

Matt Carlson, pt.2 - Schlaze Cubed

Schlaze Cubed was an instrumental trio consisting of Matt Carlson on keys and synths (an Arp Odyssey in particular, as I recall), Jim Paschall (The Past, Display) on guitar, and Matt McLemore (also of The Past) on drums. I believe this CD-R from 2005 was their only official release. Fans of This Heat's first album take note. This will absolutely scratch that same itch.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Matt Carlson pt.1 - Early solo work, plus Portal live sets

Before he was a prolific modular synth experimenter, releasing solo music on such labels as NNA and Draft, before he was one half of the synth + bass clarinet Thrill Jockey duo Golden Retriever, before he was in Parenthetical Girls and did much of the orchestral arrangements for their Entanglements album, Matt Carlson was basically your average prolific music-obsessed intellectual merv. We've already covered his high school output with the band Portal, but this post is about the various home recording projects he worked on in the post-Portal years.

He was always working on something. There was Aerboxe, an instrumental experimental synth project, and Vertex, which I believe was a concurrent project, a duo consisting of Carlson and The Past drummer Matt McLemore. In the link below, I've included 3 songs from each of these projects. I'm guessing they're from around 2002.

In 2005, Matt self-released a solo CD-R, exploring his interest in pop by way of Jim O'Rourke on his debut solo album, Making Time, which features Matt singing, and playing acoustic guitar, synth, drums, dulcimer, and more. This was the first release on his own Bucket Factory Records. You can see what Matt's up to these days by going to

Download Making Time, plus songs by Aerboxe and The Vertex here.


Download three live Portal sets from 1999 and 2000 here. 

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.