The more I look into Decibel Festival 2013, the more pumped I get about its representation of sounds -- classic, indie, techno, house, classical, disco; somehow this year's fest hits on almost every bit of my musical interests without becoming redundant. With so much going on, it is certainly hard to choose where to put one's mental and physical energies... so I've taken the liberty of choosing my top showcases for each day, to help those of you with passes to hop around gleefully, and those without to best use your money and time. Last year's festival featured some of my favorite shows of 2012; I expect this year to be no different. Happy tenth birthday to one of the best fall festivals around!
BROKE BUT WANNA GO TO DECIBEL? REDEFINE is currently giving away tickets to the upcoming Little Boots dates in Portland and Seattle! The Seattle date is a Decibel Festival date, which includes Little Boots, Light Asylum, Young Galaxy, and MNDR show at Neumos on Friday.
JUMP TO: WED, SEPTEMBER 25 THU, SEPTEMBER 26 FRI, SEPTEMBER 27 SAT, SEPTEMBER 28 SUN, SEPTEMBER 29

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 ___ BACK TO TOP

NOTABLE PICKS > FACTORY POP w/ Peter Hook & Light, ADULT., Nightmare Fortress @ Neumos > ABSTRACT EARTH PROJECT Wax Tailor, Blockhead, Little People, Rena Jones @ Showbox at the Market > HYPERDUB RECORDS Kode9, DJ Spinn, Ikonika, Jimi Jaxon, Zach Walker @ The Crocodile ***

* TOP PICK * Like Klockwork Showcase w/ Ben Klock, Light Years

Q Nightclub (1426 Broadway Ave.) – 9pm Doors / 21+ / $22 Advance or FREE with Decibel Pass Attend the Like Klockwork showcase, and you're pretty much signing up just to see Berlin's Ben Klock, for the man is going to be playing for three-and-a-half-hours. It's not exactly a feat as he has been known to play sets up to ten hours long – but this will be a rare treat for Seattlites looking for bumping techno at the relatively new and sonically well-equipped Q Nightclub. Klock, a signee to the well-reputed Ostgut Ton record label, is a regular DJ at the internationally-famed Berghain nightclub in Berlin, with the likes of folks like Marcel Dettman and label owner Nick Höppner. Dominated by steel and concrete and known for its extremity, the club is, in particular, a “platform for purist techno", according to Höppner. The techno Klock and Ostgut Ton churn out is one not just to be listened to, but experienced (for it's not every type of music that yields the types of quotes as the one on the right) – and as the days begin to turn grey and Seattle enters into fall, one can only hope that the dark, pulsing creative energies that Berlin is known for will seep its way into the way into the Pacific Northwest. Opening the showcase will be Australia's Light Year, who will, with his wide-ranging repertoire, flow from relatively melodious and vocal sample-driven house into more atonal sounds, easing listeners into the transition from sundown to techno night.

Wolf Eyes No Answer: Lower Floors De Stijl (2013) In their rather prolific career, Wolf Eyes have developed a near-cult following in those who want something louder and more abrasive, yet don't have the energy for hardcore nor the patience for Merzbow records. They inhabit a very specific alcove in the world of independent music, but this alcove is very relevant, as it is both inaccessible and accessible at the same time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the band, Wolf Eyes create unique textures of layered noise consisting of synthesizers, guitars, vocals and other random madness, mixed through an array of effects and modules and placed over steady beats; they only follow loosely the format of conventional song. That being said, there is nothing new here, which in the case of Wolf Eyes is a very good thing. In a way, their latest album, No Answer: Lower Floors, is a return to form -- a term I despise yet is quite fitting in this case. Their more recent albums, such as Always Wrong and the Moods in Free Time series, flowed in the direction of the lack-of-boundaries noise; the tracks on No Answer, on the other hand, are more reminiscent of the band’s break-through albums, Burned Mind and Human Animal, which follow more standard song and album structures without losing the free-form noise.

 

To be old and punk rock is to be old and potentially irrelevant, and that is, to a certain degree, why most punk bands have such a limited life cycle. How can anyone maintain the anger, aggression and emotional commitment to hold onto the values and morals deemed important as a teenager, without the world grinding it all down into a jaded package of disillusion? There is nothing that says that being in a punk band means you have to start when you are 20 and cease when you are 27, but to a certain degree, the writing is on the wall the moment you start. You may have been bellowing discontent to a crowd of 20-year-olds with your first vinyl, but after the third album is released, an older you will probably still be bellowing that discontent to a crowd of 20-year-olds. With that in mind, it is completely understandable why bands in the realm live and die so quickly, and those that stick around for decades are few and far between.
February 10th, 2012 @ Showbox at the Market, Seattle But Gainsville, Florida quartet Hot Water Music are one of the few between. Hot Water Music released Finding the Rhythms in 1995. After eight full-lengths, numerous EPs, and returning from an "indefinite hiatus", the torchbearers of the post-hardcore/emo wave of the mid-'90s are still going strong. For their tour in support of their latest release, Exister, HWM took out for support two very similar bands in different points in their career: La Dispute and The Menzingers. When reminiscing about Hot Water Music, most people bring up how they were their favorite band at one point or how no one else spoke closer to home lyrically, etc., etc. For many in the punk community, Hot Water Music proved that you can wear your heart on your sleeve and not sacrifice any points for it. This evening at the Showbox in Seattle, the legions of kids that sang along to their every word 15 years ago have aged and matured likewise, rounding their set out with one of the oldest median age punk crowds you'd see in a while. When "Wayfarer" rang out, the crowd cheered almost louder than the band sang. The mosh pit was active, but not in a stupidly vicious way, and there wasn't a single crowdsurfer until a teenager finally was able to get on the shoulders of someone else to make his mad dash for the barrier between the crowd and the stage. SEE ALSO: HOT WATER MUSIC - EXISTER ALBUM REVIEW LIVE SHOW REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW

 

Bleep is a weekly column focusing on varying degrees of electronic music news, videos and MP3s. This week we feature the new Shit Robot 12", a mix from the impeccable Nicolas Jaar, another Carl Craig project to keep track of, and more. Read previous Bleep columns here.

 

Shit Robot

Marcus Lambkin's debut record From the Cradle to the Rave was a long time in the making, over a decade in fact, but since then the German producer has had his foot on the gas. After a string of excellent singles and remixes in support of the album, Lambkin returns to Shit Robot in 2012 with a brand new 12" and the announcement of a singles series. "Space Race/Teenage Bass" is the first single in the Green Machine series, a line of brand new tracks from Lambkin. Although no specific timetable has been set for the releases, it's a sign of commitment to new music from this incredibly talented producer, and I'm all for that. "Space Race" is a pure house track, a booming trip through late-90's and early-00's dance music. It's a return to his roots in a sense, as it's the kind of music Lambkin was making when he first got together with James Murphy and company over at DFA Records. "Teenage Bass" follows a similar patterns, a track molded from a singular beat extrapolated over seven tense and twisting minutes. Although this 12" doesn't match some of From the Cradle to the Rave's often goofy nature, this new release is certianly worth checking out. Green Machine vol. 1 is out this week on DFA Records, and you can listen to both tracks HERE.

 

Nicolas Jaar

New York by-way-of Chile producer Nicolas Jaar took everybody by surprise in 2011 with Space is Only Noise, an amazingly poignant and minimal electronic effort, a record which still sounds effortless yet will ultimately become timeless. Jaar recently delivered the newest BBC Essential Mix for the British radio program, and to say that it's essential would be redundant but it shouldn't lose its meaning; this mix is amazing. Don't mind the *NSYNC track; Jaar even manages to make the boy band cool again. Everyone from Aphex Twin to Feist, to Marvin Gaye and Jay-Z are included on the mix, so you know Jaar's influences don't side with a specific era or genre. Stream or download the entire show below, and head over HERE to read the entire tracklist.

 

In April 2012, La Dispute announced their latest charity benefit project, Conversations, a packet consisting of a hand-assembled and multi-dimensional collection of items courtesy of La Dispute themselves, writers involved with 826michigan, and the band's artist friends. All proceeds from Conversations benefit 826michigan, a branch of Dave Eggers' literacy organization, 826 National. In this feature, we speak with vocalist Jordan Dreyer about their work with 826michigan and highlight all of the organizations they have worked with in-depth. As La Dispute continue to use their youth and energy to benefit the less fortunate, this on-going article will be updated to reflect their continued humanitarianism.

 

"Everything goes a long way. Every little thing counts." -- Jordan Dreyer
See all articles related to Non-profit and Charity work

 

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Apteka - Gargoyle Days
Despite never having met one another, Portland designer Dylan McConnell and Chicago's Apteka have grown a well-fitting artistic relationship through the years. McConnell's album cover for Gargoyle Days may be their most gripping collaboration yet.

QUOTES FROM: DYLAN MCCONNELL, DESIGNER ADAM LUCAS, APTEKA'S GUITARIST AND VOCALIST THEMES & CONCEPTS "We had worked with a sorta paranoid, dark op-art theme in the past for posters and albums (with a brief interlude of lopping off girls' heads). High contrast and fluid -- that's what I was going for." - Dylan McConnell COLLABORATION "We've been working with Dylan pretty much since the band formed. He's done all our cover art, and most all of our show posters so far. Things clicked from the beginning. He just has a knack of taking what we're doing musically and expressing it in a visual way. The funniest part is that we've never really met. He lives in Portland, and we're in Chicago. A mutual friend turned us on to him, but we've never had the chance to meet in person. It's all been through email. Which is kind of a weird way to communicate artistic intentions, but somehow it works, and he’s become this mysterious fifth member of the group." - Adam Lucas Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Dylan McConnell Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital, Typography (hand-drawn)

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography +...

This probably won't be the most "professional" review ever -- but in my shaky defense, I dare say that previous revisions were even more visceral and less sophisticated than this one...