Author Archives: Cayla Lambier

A Theme Song for
Every Valentine

Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen—it’s Valentine’s Day. Inescapable and smothering, like a warm, quivering wall of heart-flavored gelatin, this lovey-dovey Hallmark holiday will infiltrate your Friday without mercy.

Despair not, though, dear Internetter: perhaps V-Day resistance is futile, but at least you can still celebrate (or lament) it as you please.

So, whether you plan on spending the day flaunting your romantic prowess or scuttling back and forth between your PS4 and the fridge, this wholly comprehensive and scientifically validated list of personalized Valentine’s Day songs is sure to provide you with anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes of Valentine’s catharsis.*
(*Catharsis not guaranteed.)

The Hater | You’ve got a chip on your shoulder in the shape of the hole in your heart. You’ve got a bone to pick and you don’t care how many clichés you have to employ to convey to the world how justified your indignation is. Life’s a bitch, love’s a joke, everyone dies alone, and the rest of us just don’t get it, do we?

If it wasn’t for your piss-poor attitude and self-important perspective on the world, people might suffer the delusion that relationships can actually succeed. So thanks, Hater, for reminding the world how empty life really is. Fill your Angry Dome with some karaoke-style Conor Oberst and rage-wallow away.

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15 ways to make your (and my) Sasquatch experience not absolutely terrible

Let me be frank: music festivals are awful. They are magnificently unpleasant. All of them. There is almost no other way to spend $350+ and have a worse time, other than maybe flying coach to the Midwest three days before Christmas.

That being said, this will be my sixth year attending Sasquatch. My first S’quatch was in 2006, and I went consecutively for the following four years. The 2010 festival was, barring Massive Attack’s STUNNING performance, such an abysmal waste of three days that I, during the dark, rank, exhausted drive back, swore I would never, ever go again. Ever.

Worst. Ever.Going to Sasquatch is like getting waxed: after enough time has passed since you last had your hopes and dreams ripped out through your bleeding follicles, you forget the pain and gloss over the memory. Soon enough, you’re back on the table, writhing in agony, wondering what the hell you were thinking.

And, so, two years since I last subjected myself to the dirty, loud, hot, overpopulated nightmare that Sasquatch has become over the past five years, here I am with a four-day pass and a rough schedule of bands to see.

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TVD Recommends: Queen Anne Easy Street Records final in-store with Yo La Tengo, 1/18

Help send off the Queen Anne location of Easy Street Records at 7 pm TONIGHT with their final in-store, featuring awesome the smooth beats of Yo La Tengo.

Released just earlier this week, their newest album, Fade, is a solid continuation of YLT’s established vibe, with its uplifting instrumentation and relaxed vocals, and will provide the acoustic foundation for a cheerful goodbye to one of Queen Anne’s most popular stops. (TVD’s review of Fade is here. —Ed.)

If you can’t make it in for YLT’s performance, you can still swing by for the ridiculous deals (40% off everything used, 20% off everything new) or try your luck at the public auction on Sunday (1/20), which will be offering one of a kind memorabilia and original lithographs, along with literally everything else in the store.
Illustration: Mike Force for The Stranger

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TVD Recommends: David Wax Museum at Sunset Tavern, 12/4

Allow me, for a moment, to state the obvious: the weather in Seattle’s winter months can be shitty—rain, wind, dead rats in gutters, the sun peeking out from behind the clouds just long enough to flip you off and spit on your hope, etc., etc.

Fortunately, David Wax Museum, with their cheerful and flawless blend of Latin rhythms, folk instrumentation and energetic harmonies, are setting up shop tonight at Ballard’s Sunset Tavern to inject happiness, bright colors and fun directly into your beating heart, after it has been thoroughly prepped by the up-and-coming Edmund Wayne and local singer-songwriter Ben Fisher.

Provided you aren’t currently on a hallucinogenic substance, check out the video for “Harder Before It Gets Easier” from their newest album, Knock Knock Get Up, for a taste of DWM’s eclectic and full-bodied orchestrations. The video’s use of bold pinks, greens and oranges sublimely fits the emotional tone set by members David Wax and Sue Slezak, whose Latin influences have helped them do an astounding job of conveying color and texture through sound.

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TVD Recommends: Smokey Brights’ 7″
single release at the High Dive, 10/12

The thoroughly local and thoroughly upbeat Smokey Brights will be releasing the first in a series of four seven-inch singles tonight in what promises to be a head-bobbing, foot-tapping show at the High Dive.

The single features two songs and some dashingly geometric artwork by Seattle’s very own Tessa Hulls. The A Side, “No Sheer Force of Will,” provides a good example of the band’s on-point musical execution and generous folk influence, while “Silhouettes,” the B Side is actually a revamp of an one of Smokey Bright’s first songs and, when compared to the original, reveals how the band has matured their sound to a higher level of precision and energy over the past year.

The addition of Kim West’s keyboard-loving fingers and crystal clear vocals has made a significant and happy impact, leaving the original track feeling almost naked without her.

Strong performers with a cheerful stage presence, Smokey Brights tempt even the most stoic of audience members into rhythmic swaying with their lively tempos and wide smiles, making tonight’s show a perfect remedy for those post-summer/early autumn/pre-winter blues.

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TVD Live Shots:
Decibel Festival,

Depending on how you spent 9/26 through 9/30, these amazing photos of Decibel Festival 2012 are either pleasantly reminiscent of an awesome time or an embittering reminder of what you missed.

Either way, you better start counting down to next year’s electric celebration of sound and sight, because it’s going to be some kind of party if the festival big wigs want to top this year’s stellar lineup, such as Kimbra above.

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TVD Live: Alessandra Rose album release at Tractor Tavern, 9/8

While walking to the Tractor on Saturday night, two women ahead of me on the sidewalk were having a loud and lively conversation. One wondered aloud who was playing at the Tractor and, as we approached the front door, they paused to peruse the posters on the window.

“Alexandra Rose,” she announced to her companion. “Is she good?”

Noticing that I and my own companion were headed inside, she turned to me and reiterated, “Is Alexandra Rose good?”

“Her name is Alessandra, I corrected (English degrees don’t make friends, but they do make for complete sentences), “and yes, she’s very talented. She has an exceptional voice.”

Between the crowded venue and my short attention span, I never found out if they decided to take me at my word or, instead, if they found something else to occupy their evening. But, I do know that if they chose to keep walking, they made a mistake.

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TVD Recommends: Decibel Festival

If you were toying with the notion of hitting this year’s Decibel Festival, stop reading and go here now, because tickets, like so many wonderful things (petroleum, Firefly, your mom’s patience) are limited. For those that still need persuading, continue reading, but maybe open up that link in another tab, just in case.

This year’s lineup is an intimidating army of electronic and experimental talent that covers a wide variety of styles and subgenres, from the jazzy vocals of New Zealand-born Kimbra to the ambient loops and crackles of Pacific Northwest-inspired Orcas.

The Optical series schedule is very promising as well, featuring prominent audio-visual and electronic media artists like Maria Minerva, Christian Fennesz and Christina Vantzou.

The only downside is that the schedule only allows for one or maybe two different shows per night, as venues are scattered around the city and most sets begin around 9 P.M. But then again, making tough decisions is something mature, responsible adults do, so perhaps we should be thanking the festival organizers for giving us the opportunity to check off our “Be a Grown-Up” box for the day and thus freeing us to debauch and cavort later, guilt-free.

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Why haven’t you spent money on this yet?

What the hell is wrong with you? Get out your credit card, spit in the face of your student loans (like you could ever pay them off anyway) and dump your dollars in the general direction of David Bazan’s vinyl re-releases via Undertow.

For the Pedro The Lion fan who has nearly everything, fill the gaping hole in your collection with individual re-releases of Achilles Heel, Control, Winners Never Quit, The Only Reason I Feel Secure and It’s Hard To Find A Friend, or, for the Pedro The Lion fan who has absolutely nothing, buy ALL OF THEM AT ONCE.

Also available for pre-order on vinyl is Bazan’s solo breakout Fewer Moving Parts, which actually makes the universe an entire percent better to live in. Probably. Whatever. Science.

P.S. There are, amazingly, still a few tickets available to David Bazan’s upcoming Living Room Show in Spokane on August 17. Hurry up – supplies are limited, etc., etc.

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TVD Live: Mates of State with The Stepkids at Tractor Tavern, 6/28

Backdrops built of flowers, plug-in clouds and geometric projections took over Ballard’s Tractor Tavern last Thursday and Fright night, as Connecticut’s Mates of State, accompanied by psychedelic funk trio The Stepkids, kicked off their West coast tour with an energetic and spunky performance that quite nearly overcame the strange phobia of movement that Seattle audiences are notorious for.

When I decided to cover this show and cleared my schedule of all the nothing I had planned, I realized I actually hadn’t listened to any of MoS’ new material. And by new material, I mean their last four releases. My first instinct was to catch up, but it occurred to me that seeing them live after a nearly seven year hiatus would be considerably more interesting.

I wondered how much they had deviated from the chipper, synthesizers-having-a-slumber-party-pillow-fight sound that made songs like “Everyone Needs an Editor” and “Ha Ha” so much fun to sing to while tearing ass out of my high school’s parking lot, and was ultimately pleased to find myself nodding along to a very familiar, though more developed, Mates of State.

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TVD Live: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band EP release at Columbia City Theater, 6/1

I showed up at Columbia City Theater, having never been before, somewhat in a huff. My imagined sprint from work to home to show was forced into a limping crawl by the flood of weekend tourism traffic, I was wearing the same clothes I wore wrangling children earlier in the day, had nothing but some OJ and mac-n-cheese on my stomach, and sat down on a stool in the back only to discover that I had left my camera at home and my pen was running out of ink.

As I debated the prudence of complementing my small dinner with a strong drink, I noticed a couple of the members of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band lurking above the stage and suddenly realized I didn’t care if I was hungry and would have to take terrible quality pictures with my terrible phone or if my ability to write this review was inhibited by the illegible scratches of my dying pen, because I was about to see one of my favorite local bands play a live set. Right on.

I went home that evening thoroughly musically blessed. The event, organized by Sound On The Sound, not only served to launch MSHVB’s fantastic new EP, Prehistory, but also introduced me to Olympia-based You Are Plural and confirmed all the good things I had heard about Wintersleep, Juno Award winners from Halifax, Nova Scotia, providing me with two new bands to add to my list of “Things I Like A Lot.”

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When you’re too poor for Sasquatch Festival

Was the $400 four-day pass to this year’s edition of S’quatch a tad too steep for the ol’ bank account?

Well, buck up! Just because you won’t be spending Memorial Day weekend sprawled on the hill in front of the main stage, paying homage to a hirsute cryptid, doesn’t mean your appetite for live music has to go unsated.

Here’s a brief list of recommendations for a few local (and much more affordable) Sasquatch alternatives:

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TVD Recommends:
Buffalo Death Beam
at The Tractor, tonight, 5/16

You know those times when you’re reading the newspaper and spot an article about how Spotted Strawberry Lemur Kittens are about to go extinct because there are only five left, and you’re suddenly flooded with both amazement that you lived so long unaware of their existence and motivation to keep them around for future generations to drive to near extinction?

Well, this is kind of like that if you swap out the adorable endangered creature with the Eastern Washington-based harmonic modern folk band Buffalo Death Beam.

For the last several years, Buffalo Death Beam has traveled the Pacific Northwest, playing consistently beautiful and complex sets while catching the attention of The Inlander and KEXP, releasing an EP and, more recently, the album Salvation for Ordinary People (which you can listen to hear [GET IT!?]).

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Record Store Day
Shenanigans of the Seattle Variety

Come tomorrow, Seattle will once again find itself in the throes of Record Store Day, subjected to the motley hordes of hungry vinylvores swarming over limited edition releases and autographed LPs, loving every minute of it.

Whether you’re an RSD pro with a set gameplan or someone who only recently learned the term “vinyl” refers to something other than a terrible material to make pants with, do yourself a favor and take a glance at what some of our local record-slingers have in store for their beloved patrons.

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