The glory that is Sasquatch


Currently thousands of good-time hungry people are assembling for the weekend that is Sasquatch, and I could not be any more bummed about it. For the first time in 5 years, I, sadly, am not among them.

It’s pretty difficult for me to write those words (especially because for the first time since I’ve been going, my boy Ty Segall will be there, sludging out with Fuzz), but work and financial obligations have left it impossible for me to join in on the fun this year. And by fun I mean MOST FUN THING THAT WILL HAPPEN IN 2015.

An exaggeration, you may think to yourself? Hardly. In fact, over the course of the last five phenomenally awesome Squatches, I’ve only found myself not having fun once, and that was because Mayer Hawthorne was on the stage, inappropriately acting like the most important guy in the world. And ya know, come to think of it, I was still definitely having a good time at that moment, despite his bro-iness. Because Sasquatch is a non-stop zone of euphoria. It’s nearly impossible to lose the smile from your face while you’re Gorge-side, from the second you join the miles-long car line into camping til the “it’s too damn bright outside!” morning you drag yourself out of George, WA, five days later.

And this year’s gonna be better than ever. With everyone from St. Vincent to Schoolboy Q to Robert flippin’ Plant showing up, fans are gonna get washed over with beautiful music from every genre out there. So why not savor what I’m missing out on by creating the playlist to end all playlists?!

Behold, samplings from every band I know I’d be jamming/freaking out to this weekend. It’s by far the longest musicboots playlist ever compiled, but that’s extremely fitting, considering the festival (and its enormous offering of delicious music) it’s based on.

Dig in.


Don’t worry: Music still means everything

I’m sure y’all have been extremely worried about the state of music, seeing as how I haven’t been updating you much lately, but never fear: music is still everything. I’ve just been super busy learning the ins and outs of website development, and it’s eating up almost every minute of my spare time. Of course, every other minute belongs to whiskey, and while I’ve wanted to share some of those whiskey-soaked ramblings via the blog, something in my subconscious said no. So my apologies for not publishing any blogs at all these past few weeks.

In hopes of making it up, here’s a rundown of all that’s mattering to me musically right now…

First off, there’s a ton of good albums that were recently dropped, and the three I haven’t been able to stop listening to are Will Butler’s Policy, Courtney Barnett’s official debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, and Strangers to Ourselves, the awesome latest from Modest Mouse.


Butler’s was a decent surprise, especially since I’ve always assumed his brother Win, whom Will shares the stage with in Arcade Fire, was the more talented of the two. Little did I know Will collaborated with Owen Pallett on the Oscar-nominated score for Her last year, nor that he was cool enough to record the exceptional Policy in just one week at Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios. Sure, it’s a short album, with just 8 tracks, but there’s plenty of deliciousness packed in there – consider it 27 minutes of smart and playful ventures into indie alt rock and dancing jazz.


As for Barnett, I can’t stress enough how badly you need to check out this chick’s vivacious music, which veers effortlessly from bouncy to solemn, all the while backed by her monotonous yet powerful vocals. She’s an outstanding songwriter, to boot, and when you’re not busy dancing around the kitchen to her mostly upbeat music you’re probably left standing there trying to wrap your brain around all the brilliance she spews with her lyrics.


Then there’s Modest Mouse’s newest masterpiece, an album that declares they still give zero fucks about what the rest of music is doing – they’re here to make what they think you should be listening to. Strangers to Ourselves has some rad Man Man-esque moments, not to mention impressive elaboration of the style they founded when they were born 20+ years ago. It seems every one of their albums does a mashup of sounds found on all previous recordings as well as an exploration of new sounds piquing their interest these days. It’s definitely an appropriately rockin’ release.

Another band with new music, but no set release date for their record, is the eternally cool Ratatat, the electronic dance duo near and dear to my heart. They floored me with their set at my second Sasquatch!, and I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to 2010’s LP4 a thousand times since. It seems ridiculous they haven’t released a proper full-length in five years, but word is they’re currently recording their next, and it’s of course tentatively titled LP5. They gave a taste of what’s to come during their set at last weekend’s Coachella, with “Cream on Chrome”, and it’s funky and tropical and heavy in all the right places. I love it to pieces. And cannot wait for this next record.

With that I’d like to thank Coachella, cuz while I’d never in a million years travel to Indio and rub shoulders with hipsters and rich kids, I really appreciate their willingness to stream sets from the festival. It was terrific to see Tame Impala’s set via the stream, because I’ve loved them for a long time, yet have never gotten a chance to see them live. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me complain at least 5 or 6 times about that year I was supposed to see them at Sasquatch! but they couldn’t make it due to baggage issues at London’s Heathrow Airport. Well, their set at Coachella looked and sounded fabulous, even though they didn’t play my favorite, “Half Full Glass of Wine”. Instead they crushed “Elephant”, which included an outrageously short but super rad drum solo, and encouraged the crowd to check out fellow Aussies AC/DC by playing a sweet riff from “Thunderstruck” and declaring “I’ve been waiting my whole fucking life to see AC/DC”. Adorable. Now I’ve gotta get to watching the stream from what I’ve heard was a badass performance from Azealia Banks, as well as that for Run the Jewels, because Run the Jewels.

And to wrap up, a bit of bad news: work responsibilities are likely gonna leave me unable to go to Sasquatch! this year. Now, while I’m overwhelmingly devastated about this, I’ve at least got a good bunch of friends that will be attending and can relay all the crazy awesomeness the 2015 Sasquatch! provided. So stay tuned next month for a breakdown on all the bands performing this year, and reasons why it’s gonna be jaw-dropping. I’m so very bummed I won’t be there for it, but *sigh* there’s always next year~

3/8/15 Playlist

In light of this absolutely gorgeous day out there (hello, 70 degrees, I’ve missed you so…), all my brain wants to hear is happy and rockin’ good music. This playlist more than accomplishes that, particularly with a few rad new tunes I picked up from the radio lately, such as Saint Motel’s “My Type”.

But there’s also some loveliness in there from Moon Duo’s latest, as well as Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear, an album I thought I’d like a whole lot more than I do. In fact, I’d been super excited to review that new album, but after a couple of listens, I’ve been left with zero energy to do so. It’s just a disappointing album, considering what he accomplished with his last, Fear Fun. While Josh Tillman does title his songs better than anyone else out there (see “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow” from his newest, or “Well, You Can Do It Without Me” from his debut), he didn’t do as good a job at transferring the fun of their names into the actual music within the songs.

Someone who did do a terrific job with their new album was Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, however – stay tuned this week for a full review on his outstanding solo debut, Policy. ‘Til then, position yourself out there in the sun today and crank this playlist full tilt, shaking your moneymaker with all your might. Happy Spring!

What Parks and Rec has done for music

Leslie Knope is my spirit animal. In truth, I’ve been in love with every single thing Amy Poehler’s done, but what she’s managed to do with her Parks and Recreation character has been absolutely fantastic. It only adds to the show’s awesome that she’s surrounded by truly unforgettable characters such as Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson, not to mention guest stars the likes of Swanson’s ex-wives Tammy 1 and Tammy 2.

Major kudos to all the superior acting done on Parks and Rec, as well as the hilarious writing – I’m sure I’ll be shedding gallons of happy tears this Tuesday as the series finale airs. It’s also been extremely sad to learn P&R writer/producer Harris Wittels passed away last week from a drug overdose. That guy was priceless in his portrayal of a stoner animal control staffer on the show, which made it even more heartbreaking to hear of his death. And so this is why I wanna focus on the cheerful stuff the show is made of, namely the way it’s brought music to the forefront in so many wonderful ways, especially by featuring terrific musicians.

Questlove himself was one of the first to note how important music was to the show – be sure to watch as he explained in 2010 that P&R is, without a doubt, the Wu-Tang of comedy. The Roots drummer also recently did an outstanding guest spot at Donna’s wedding as her estranged brother Lavondrius, but this portrayal was not to be outshone that episode, as Ginuwine also made a flawless return as her cousin. If for nothing else, please watch “Donna and Joe” just to hear April Ludgate scream at Ginuwine to “get it together”. Then dial back to the Season 6 finale to catch the R&B singer dedicate his hit single “Pony” to beloved Li’l Sebastian at the Pawnee/Eagleton Unity Concert, held in memoriam of the fallen mini-horse:

A good number of musicians were also in the spotlight during that finale, as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Yo La Tengo, The Decemberists and Letters to Cleo showed up to perform and work to merge the two cities together. Tweedy had appeared on a previous episode of P&R, as Knope and Andy Dwyer work to convince his band Land Ho! to reunite for the concert, and it was sweet to see them do so in the finale, especially as Dwyer’s band Mouse Rat joined them for a song. Which reminds me not to forget the importance of Mouse Rat, who frequently provided the series impressive musical chops and highly entertaining lyricism.

It’s gonna be super tough to see Parks and Recreation and all its splendid musical reference come to an end next week, particularly in that we’re losing all this:

  • the witticism of Tom Haverford, also great at contributing musical references: “Whenever Leslie asks me for the Latin names of any of our plants, I just give her the names of rappers. Those are some Diddies. Those are some Bone Thugs-N-Harmoniums, right here. Those Ludacrises are coming in great.”
  • the snarkiness of April Ludgate, and her band-aid devotion towards Dwyer
  • the brazen manliness of Ron Swanson, flawless in his moonlighting as jazz saxophonist Duke Silver
  • the, ummm, ahhh…forget it. We won’t miss Garry/Barry/Larry/Gerry Gergich for anything. Instead, let’s quickly recall how fabulous Ann Perkins was before she left. 😉
  • Donna’s ability to effortlessly live life the way only she wished it to be lived – it’s definitely no surprise when her fiancée mentions in his vows that Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy was written about her
  • Ben Wyatt’s adorably nerdy ways and unquestioned loyalty towards Ms. Knope…
  • …and, of course, all that is Leslie Knope. She may not have supplied P&R with a ton of musical wonder, but her recreation of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” makes up for all that, and more

Thanks for everything, Parks and Recreation – you are, without a doubt, one of my top 5 favorite television shows of all time.

Leave it to Jimmy Fallon to almost capture the cast’s amazingness at its all-time musical best (of course I say almost because this skit is a reference to another television show I cannot stand, and because P&R has done hundreds of equally rad other things):

An ode to the big booty connoisseur

Oh, Sir Mix-A-Lot. Your arrival into the musical history books, with 1992’s timeless masterpiece “Baby Got Back”, marked the first time I felt it necessary to hide what I was listening to from my parents. My sneaky 10-year-old self procured the cassette single from the mall while Mom wasn’t lookin’, then made sure to blare it out of my speakers at home only while the parents were away.

The irony is that I didn’t even know what the song was all about – I just thought it was hilarious someone was making tons of money and getting all sorts of famous simply because he liked big butts. There were curse words in there, though, and that’s the only reason I thought I should keep my folks from hearing it, lest they snatch it away and ground me or something.

As years passed I was always a little astonished at how “Baby Got Back” never got old. All it took were those infamous catty remarks, “Oh my god, Becky – look at her butt,” before anyone anywhere would burst into song and loudly proclaim the words “my anaconda don’t want nothin’ less you got buns, hun”.

That’s why it’s somewhat sad Sir Mix-A-Lot never got another major hit like it. Yet here we are, 23 years later, still appreciating that song every time it comes on the radio. You can imagine my hyped level of excitement, however, when I learned the Seattle-based musician would be coming to town to perform on none other than Valentine’s Day, with my friend and her band LoveBomb Go-Go opening for him!

It was definitely a curious line-up for V Day at Dante’s, as there was LoveBomb Go-Go, best described as an intergalactic marching band (they seriously are the best – they were a huge hit at Burning Man ’14, and you have got to check out one of their shows sometime!), and Smoochknob, who come off mostly like a power pop-metal group from 1998. I wasn’t too impressed with the latter of the openers, who mostly centered their show around the half-naked dancers they bring with them, but I knew Sir Mix-A-Lot would make up for it. And for the most part, he did.

Sure, the MC seemed a bit sad and tired at the beginning of his set, with a look on his face that seemed to mutter, “Here we go again,” but two or three songs in, he definitely perked up. Sir Mix-A-Lot and his “crew”, which featured a guy spinning beats and two gentlemen backing him up on his rap game, sashayed their way through a bunch of songs I’d never heard, then brought in oldies but goodies “My Hooptie” and “Posse On Broadway”, which really got the crowd amped up. There was also a spot-on throwback with The Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache (Jump On It)”, which the Sir modified to throw in shout-outs to Portland, and the Blazers.

And then the eagerly awaited time had come…sadly, there was no replication of the song’s legendary spoken intro (truly, I had hoped and prayed there would be two snarky chicks onstage to recreate the song’s opening, but alas…my dreams fell short), but as soon as Sir Mix-A-Lot began rapping along to “Baby Got Back”, the crowd went wild. It’s likely anyone in downtown Portland that night was capable of hearing the hundreds of people jammed into Dante’s, loudly singing along to the epic ballad.

To no one’s surprise, ladies got asked to join the melee onstage midway through, and shake what mama gave ’em, and it felt like a solid wrap-up to the Valentine’s Day extravaganza. The only real disappointment was Sir Mix-A-Lot’s choice to remix the song a bit toward its end, which you can see below. And apologies for the short but sweet clip – I was too busy shaking my booty, as instructed, to get fully adequate footage.

Screw the Grammys

Got a lot on my mind with music right now, especially thanks to the recent acquisition of a ticket to my beloved Sasquatch! (Robert Plant! Fuzz! Tame Impala! Hot Chip! Run The Jewels! OHMYGOD I CAN’T LIST THEM ALL).

And then there was the recent broadcast of the yearly fiasco that is the Grammys. Year after year that damn awards show pisses me off, which is actually pretty dumb, considering how little I actually care about, or give credit to, the ceremony.

Last year was the first time since high school I decided to actually give the Grammys a chance, and it was only because QOTSA, NIN, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham had been announced as performers. And their sets were as badass as expected…until the goddam Grammys decided to end the show and start rolling credits right as QOTSA were playing “My God Is The Sun”. Such disrespect.

That’s why I’m not gonna get too in depth with my musings on this year’s shit show, especially since I obviously didn’t watch the Grammys this weekend. I’ve learned all I wanted to know and so much awful more from all the media outlets these past few days. So let’s just cut it down to this:

  • Kanye’s an idiot. Honestly, dude – I’ve stuck with you time and time again, but I do believe you’ve finally pushed me over the edge. Of all the people to steal the spotlight from, you choose Beck? Tacky as hell. At least it did leave us with this absolutely fabulous moment that declares Jay only supports ‘Ye when he knows the cameras are rollin’:
  • Obama is the opposite of Kanye. His PSA denouncing rape and domestic violence couldn’t have been broadcast at a better time…unless it would’ve been done during the Super Bowl. Which I didn’t get to watch. Someone please tell me this was broadcast then, too.
  • Taylor Swift needs to stop acting 16. Pharrell agrees, too.
  • Run the Jewels 2 was the best rap album of 2014. NOT Marshall Mathers 2.
  • Paramore is still a band? And worthy of a Grammy? What a great time to stop talking about this stupid goddam awards show…

On that note, let’s celebrate the return of Alabama Shakes! Such a supreme blues/punk/rock quintet…I’ve been lucky to see their awesome explode all over the tiny little stage at Doug Fir, as well as at Sasquatch! And once you’ve seen them close down a show with a Zeppelin cover, you’ll be hooked for life.

That’s why I’m super excited for their sophomore release, due out April 21, especially thanks to this delightful leak:

Mmm…Sound & Color is gonna be so bloody good. But enough of my ramblings…consider tonight’s ample post an apology for my recent lack of blogginess. Here forth, I promise to provide y’all with as much new blog material as I can muster. Cheers ’til then! 🙂 ❤

1/18/15 Playlist

All it took was a reminder from last week that Kurt had met Courtney in a local bar 25 years ago before I was frantically digging up all my favorite songs from the early ’90s. As I began compiling them into a playlist for all you lovelies it wasn’t long before I noticed almost every one of them was from 1994.

Which is ironic, because I was only 12 that year and lived in the kind of place that didn’t catch on to brand new songs until about a year after they were released. I remember hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the jukebox for the first time in ’95, and that was a full four years after it was dropped on the rest of the world. We just didn’t have the radio stations or access to MTV everyone else did, and it left us missing out on the incredible redirection music was taking at that time.

It wasn’t ’til college, when I met my badass, Alice in Chains lovin’ roomie/BFF, that I got full exposure to all the gems of the early ’90s. Call it grunge if you will, but I personally feel that word’s a pretty lazy attempt to lump all the innovative styles of music that were being created into one. Rather, punk and rock music were doing a full 180, picking up pieces of the ’70s & ’80s and smashing them into something of their own, spawning hundreds of mind-boggling albums still relevant in conversation today.

But let’s not get too serious here – I promise to save that for another day, when I’ll surely be discussing the best albums of the ’90s, which include some of the finest soundtracks we’ll ever see and hear (The Crow, Singles, etc.). Instead, let’s focus on the songs. Sure, a few of these were major radio hits, and we’ve heard them a million times by now, but that doesn’t eliminate their quality from when they were first released. And don’t mistake my inclusion of a Weezer or Green Day song as reference to my love for those bands, because I can’t stand anything they did post their respective debuts. Blue Album and Dookie, though? Damn. Brilliance.

So relive your high school and college days with this playlist, and stop to compare the music of these last couple years with that of ’92-’95. Few periods of time have been quite like it for music development, and we should only hope to see another like it in the future.


Celebrities sing-along to their favorites just as I do

As much as I respect Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, I’ve never been as into Sleater-Kinney as I probably should be. I’m not even that versed with their musical output, which leaves me a little ashamed, but I at least recognize and applaud their punkish, riot grrl ways, wholeheartedly. And considering they’re practically my neighbors in this fair city of ours, I feel I should be showing them a bit more of my respect.

I’m a big fan of their latest video because it supports a fantastic new song for the trio, “No Cities To Love”, but also because many of the random famous people featured end up sounding just like me as I belt out a favorite song: off-tune and fabricating words as I pretend to know the lyrics. If you’ve never had the pleasure of road-tripping with me, and watching as I shamelessly belt out every song that comes on the radio, incorrectly, just watch for Andy Samberg’s face as he tries to mumble along to the lyrics. It’s a pretty accurate comparison to my own attempts at singing.

But there’s also J Mascis, Sarah Silverman and a bunch of other awesome celebs in the video, not to mention the one and only Daryl Dixon, so enjoy as they recreate Sleater-Kinney’s sweet new single for you:

This chick.

So I came across Tink for the first time when I heard her on the sweet new track from Sleigh Bells, “That Did It”, which I loved so much it made my end of the year fave song list. And then I started seeing her name everywhere, and was blown away to learn the Chicago-based emcee/singer was still in her teens. Her first album release, Winter’s Diary, came out while she was a junior in high school, and she’s released four mixtapes of her work since 2012, including Winter’s Diary 2, released at the end of ’14.

Age clearly doesn’t matter, as Timbaland’s already signed Tink to his label, and worked with her to create the Ferguson protest song “Tell the Children”, as well as the soon-to-be released “UFO”, which features the almighty André 3000. Then there’s this, which shows girl’s got some mightily impressive vocals, rhymes and presence:

I’m super pumped to watch Tink take over the world, and so should you all. Keep your ears posted for what’s sure to be lotsa new music from the little lady in 2015.

D’Angelo pulls off the greatest return ever

Can you even believe it’s been 15 years since Voodoo? At the same time, it’s been so long since we had new music from D’Angelo it was starting to feel he’d been a myth to begin with.

Then he goes and pulls a Beyonce and surprises the world with one of the biggest albums of the year, with weeks to spare. If you haven’t listened to Black Messiah yet, stop whatever it is you may be doing and either go buy it or start streaming it immediately. It is PHENOMENAL. I say the 15 years we just waited was well worth it. Adding awesomeness to this wonderous piece of art, Q-Tip and ?uestlove contributed to it, as well!

And if you’re gonna get caught up with D’Angelo’s naming of the album, and worry he’s gone the Kanye route, take a look at what’s written in its liner notes:



Words like these instill my faith in music a million times over. 2014 most certainly was a difficult year to watch unfold, but musicians such as D’Angelo, and so many others, have stood up and used their spot in the spotlight to do good for the people, inspiring peace and change and unity. It’s a goddam beautiful thing.

Speaking of beautiful, let’s get off this solemn moment for a second and pause to honor who and what D’Angelo was 15 years ago. Then go get his new album.  Truly, it’ll blow your mind even so much more than everything about this video does: