There was a time in Seattle in the mid-90’s, when one could imagine it was San Francisco in the Summer of Love, or at least Burning Man. It was the Summer of 1994, and local psychedelic/dance fav’s Sky Cries Mary were just getting set to release their second full-length album, This Timeless Turning. They had already scored a hit on KCMU and the End with the first single off of the album, Every Iceberg is Afire. But they hadn’t really played a lot of the new material from the album to a live audience. So they decided to throw a free cd release party/show at Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill. The weather totally worked in the band’s favor-classic Seattle July weather-70’s and sunny. Already having established themselves as kings and queen of the psychedelic scene, the band had a fairly rabid following at the time. Pretty much every one of those fans turned out for this show.
The band chose for their set to play the songs off the new album from start to finish, and then followed the show with an encore of older favorites. Well, between the naked hippies, the lavish yet surreal band costumes, lead singer Anisa’s soaring soprano, flowers everywhere, body paint, the sunshine, the burning incense, now-legal drugs being not-so secretly toked, and the band’s 60’s psychedelia meets 90’s trance-dance sounds; regardless of whether you bought into the whole jam-band/psychedelic thing-everyone present was transported to some other place and time. The day ended up being one to remember and talked about for years to come.
Two of the more straight-forward, poppier songs of This Timeless Turning are Shipwrecked and Every Iceberg is Afire. Here are the official videos for both of them.
And if you’re interested, go check out the band’s website, it’s loaded with lots of cool pics, and you can listen to all of their albums. Their first album, A Return to the Inner Experience, still stands as their best. The album veers from then-trendy trance sounds to a Rolling Stones cover to psychedelic pop. David Byrne thought they were going to be the next big thing. They certainly were huge in the Northwest, but that didn’t quite happen on a national scale. Either way-if you want some chill, upbeat music-you can’t really go wrong with Sky Cries Mary.
I found a link to this local group in my e-mail inbox recently. Definitely different than the kind of music I usually listen to. I hadn’t heard of Feeds on Majesty before-lead musician, Travis Gore, is a bassist with the Seattle Symphony. While their music certainly reflects great musical proficiency-their self-titled EP isn’t what I would expect to hear from a performer with a symphony. Instead of coming from a classical, or even baroque, setting-the music reflects an interest in folk, bluegrass, and at times, even ‘slow-core’ musical stylings. The chord changes and rhythms are almost experimental in nature. I can’t say these are songs you’ll be singing in the shower, as most of the songs have an ethereal, surreal quality to them. Much of it very beautiful (The Haunting), and at other times, unsettling (Leaves Turn to Green). All of it unique and interesting, though.
I think fans of Red House Painters, Joanna Newsom, Fleet Foxes, and even Tortoise will find this of interest. You can download the EP over on their bandcamp page.
It looks like the group has a couple of opportunities to catch them live over the next few months as well. They will be playing with their new line-up at the Can Can on August 18th; with the avant-garde contemporary orchestra ‘Scrape’ at the Royal Room on September 8th; and at Benaroya Hall as part of the Day of Music on September 22nd at noon (this is event is FREE too!). I am definitely going to try and catch one of these shows to see them live.
Posse are a local 3-piece that somehow manage to come across as both fresh and familiar at the same time. Chugging/jangly rhythm guitars, male/female vocal harmonies, surf-rock tinged guitar solos, and a drummer with all the right moves-the band has found that sweet spot between nostalgia and contemporary cool. Fans of Pixies and K records alumni should definitely enjoy Posse.
Check out their self-titled debut album from 2012 over at bandcamp. You can even download the instantly hummable Sarah for free. They have been in the studio as of late, so we should be expecting some new tunes in the next few months.
This Saturday, our beloved, trend-setting, and groundbreaking local record label, Sub Pop will be celebrating 25 years of operations with the Sub Pop Jubilee down in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. This will be a truly fantastic event-loads of classic Sub Pop bands from the roster (Mudhoney! TAD reunion! Greg Dulli!), new indie stalwarts (Father John Misty! Shearwater! METZ!); the Sub Pop Mega Mart is being rolled back out; lots of food trucks; and plenty more to make it a memorable day. I definitely will be there enjoying the festivities.
To pay tribute, here are a couple of favorite, somewhat lesser-known Sub Pop acts-locals Kinski and D.C.-based Velocity Girl.
One of my favorite Kinski songs is Rhode Island Freakout, from their 2003 album, Airs Above Your Station. If you’ve never seen them live, this band is ferociously loud. If you enjoy the more rocking side of Sonic Youth, you are sure to love this.
And here is a noise-pop gem from Velocity Girl, Sorry Again. It is from the single of the same name in 1994. They have that great Lush meets Juliana Hatfield, swooning, noisy, soaring pop sound down pat.