Old Time Relijun at the Entry – TICKETS
Old Time Relijun are the rarest breed of band. Insatiable, living raw, always on the margins and consistent as hell. You know what to expect and yet never have any clue what’s going to come next. Old Time Relijun give sweaty, compulsively danceable performances that never fail to inflame their audience. Their songs are simple but no one else in the world could imitate them. Their albums are packed with sing-along hits, mixed with sonic experiments and inside jokes. Their loose swagger belies years of practice, fastidious arrangements and gut-level understanding of how music hits you.
Old Time Relijun is an unearthly combo from Olympia, Washington. We don’t throw words like “genius”, “brilliant” or “legendary” around lightly. Nor do we use them to describe Old Time Relijun (though others do). We prefer to see them as “mythical”. Their new EP, See Now and Know, appears after a mysterious decade-long dormancy, reuniting the classic Catharsis in Crisis (2007) lineup featuring bandleader Arrington de Dionyso with Aaron Hartman (upright bass), Germaine Baca (drums) and Benjamin Hartman (saxophone and percussion).
The Drums at the Turf Club – TICKETS
On Brutalism, the fifth LP from The Drums a lot is different. It is quite possibly the best collection of songs in the band’s ten-year career. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but It doesn’t provide all the answers. Brutalism is a form of simplistic architecture defined by blocks of raw concrete. Brutalism is rooted in an emotional rawness but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of frivolous and exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt.
In 2017, The Drums put out its first record as a solo project. Abysmal Thoughts belonged to Jonny Pierce alone. It discussed his painful divorce. Since, he has returned to New York and now lives between there and LA. “I felt my work in LA was done. I was exhausted, depleted and sabotaging myself, partying so much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral.” He wanted to deal with unresolved facets of his relationship with himself so he did therapy. “It was do or die,” he says. “Figuring out what it is that makes me happy, and acknowledging that I deal with depression.” He looks at Brutalism as an extension of self-care. “In order to take care of yourself you have to ask questions. Those are the things I needed to confront. It’s interesting talking about the past, dealing with things that are long overdue. I’m delivering something unsure and unclear.”
Strand of Oaks at First Avenue – TICKETS
“When I was writing these songs, every day I would walk on the beach and I was completely alone and overwhelmed by fear…but then I realized how there really aren’t any rules for who you are, who you’ll become, or who you think you need to be. Eraserland is just that. It’s death to ego, and rebirth to anything or anyone you want to be.”
In December 2017, Tim Showalter was uncertain about his next record and the shape it would eventually take. With no new songs written and lacking any clear vision, he was unprepared for the message he would receive from his friend Carl Broemel, the conversation that would follow, and the album that would become Eraserland. Leading off with standout track “Weird Ways” and his powerful declaration of “I don’t feel it anymore,” Eraserland traces Showalter’s evolution from apprehension to creative awakening, carving out a new and compelling future for Strand of Oaks.
“This project seemed to just fall together naturally,” said Broemel, guitarist for My Morning Jacket. “I felt drawn to Tim’s positive energy and his albums…I threw it out there that I’d be happy to help in any way I could with the record.” Broemel quickly reignited Showalter’s interest in what would become Strand of Oaks’ sixth full-length studio release, and within 24 hours, My Morning Jacket members Patrick Hallahan (drums), Bo Koster (keys), and Tom Blankenship (bass) were also on board.
Revived by the support of Broemel and his bandmates, Showalter felt the pressure to deliver songs worthy of musicians he had admired long before and after a 2015 Oaks/MMJ tour. So in February 2018, he spent two weeks alone in Wildwood, New Jersey writing and demoing all of the songs that would eventually comprise Eraserland. And in April, he went into the studio to record with Kevin Ratterman at La La Land Studios in Louisville, Kentucky, and with Broemel, Hallahan, Koster, and Blankenship as his band.
Delicate Steve at the Entry – TICKETS
“In a time where nothing makes sense, or when everyone is trying to make sense of everything, even the right idea might not make perfect sense to everybody at that moment.” Steve Marion, the songwriter, guitarist, and producer who has made four studio records of primarily word-less, guitar-first music as Delicate Steve, is talking about the bifurcated and reactionary culture of the moment. But by no coincidence he’s also describing musical moments that helped to inspire Till I Burn Up (Anti-, 2019) his forthcoming LP.
The album name comes from a line in Dr. John’s “Walk on Guilded Splinters” where Steve misheard John’s actual phrase “Tit Alberta” as “Till I Burn Up.” But more than fodder for an album title, John’s Gris Gris, and records like it, informed a new frame-of-mind for an artist who has historically set out to make a predetermined statement with every recording.
“The idea of this young freak making Gris Gris in LA, and nobody knowing what to do with it in 1968… He gave me confidence to be a little more freaky and abstract instead of quirky and nicely-packaged like my last album was.” Steve goes on to cite early records by Iggy Pop and Dylan and The Band’s electric tour that were panned at the time and lauded in hindsight. “There is a confidence that comes with abandoning the idea of wanting to create something that everyone might like to check out.”
The Japanese House at the Fine Line – TICKETS
The Japanese House, known simply as Amber Bain, has grown a lot since her last release. Overcoming personal struggles with anxiety and sometimes crippling introverted-tendencies, the producer, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist has created a visible sense of transparency with Good at Falling. GQ pointed out that Bain’s new songs are “far more lucid and literal than they were before.” Bain has also embraced the role her music plays in the LGBTQA+ community. She once told V Magazine, “I didn’t realize in my music that I used female pronouns, but there isn’t a lot of music done that way in an obvious way. If you want to write about a girl, it should be easy to do.” Bain’s new video for “Lilo” rests under that same umbrella of expression. Without lingering on or sensationalizing the roles of the partnership, it captures how the most mundane moments from brushing teeth to showering can be heart-tugging with the right person and emphasizes the importance of not neglecting the significance of this normalcy of someone you love.
The culmination of these life progressions has really made Good at Falling a distinct album, balancing vulnerability with Bain’s unique, old-soul outlook on life, which propelled The Japanese House to nearly 200 Million streams on Spotify alone and coverage in The New York Times, GQ, Playboy, The Fader, Newsweek, Noisey and i-D, among others, with Pitchfork describing her release as a “transformation from hesitant outsider to unlikely pop star” in their review of the album.
The Veer Union at the Skyway Theater – TICKETS
The Veer Union has released a new single and video, “Save Yourself” as they continue to promote their “Decade 2: Rock and Acoustic” 18 song album on Rock Shop Entertainment. The band is on tour this spring with a combination of headlining dates, and direct support for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (see below)
The video, created by Dark Chamber Pictures and directed by James Ryan and Peter Wartenkin poses the question: how does one look inward if they’re scared of who they might see? And what if that frightening true self behind the veil is actually the person you need to see? This concept, backed by the big swinging riffs and singalong choruses of the track, makes “Save Yourself” a perfect channel for The Veer Union’s sense of in-depth self-awareness.
According to vocalist Crispin Earl, “I realized early on in my career that the one person in my life making things more difficult for me, was actually myself. That realization has made me abundantly aware of this weakness and I now strive to overcome this battle every day. This video was one way to remind myself to fight my own inner demons before they have a chance to overcome me.”
Knife Fights at the Icehouse – TICKETS
Photo Credit: Justin Henning
Knife Knights were born of the love of mystery. A decade ago, Ishmael Butler—the architect of the groundbreaking but long-disbanded hip-hop group Digable Planets—was preparing at last to emerge from years of near-complete silence. He unveiled his new outlet, Shabazz Palaces, in the summer of 2009 through a pair of self-released EPs, surrounding his hyperlinked verses with webs of psychedelic textures and refracted rhythms. From the start, confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself.
As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter, and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe. Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development into of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together as Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage, an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip-hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam. 1 Time Mirage represents a playground for Butler and Blood, a free space for unfettered exploration, and a radically adventurous start to something much more than a mere production duo or side project.
Skating Polly at the Entry – TICKETS
Tacoma’s favorite punk-rock sibling trio Skating Polly is excited to announce a headline tour this Spring with support from Jo Passed (Sub Pop). The three week run also sees Skating Polly playing a special show in San Diego with Culture Abuse and The Interrupters before making their way across the country for a performance at the Norman Music Festival alongside Beach Fossils, Black Milk with Band Nat Turner, Soccer Mommy and more. Skating Polly continue to tour in support of last summer’s breakout LP The Make It All Show, which has garnered accolades from press and peers across the board with X’s John Doe naming it one of the best punk rock albums of all time, and Shamir telling The Talkhouse that the album has given hope that “grunge can have a mainstream moment again.”
Jesse at the Amsterdam – TICKETS
Jesse (formerly known as Jesse Rutherford) has been best known as the ringleader of The Neighbourhood, the band he brought together in Newbury Park, California in 2011 — until now. Over the past year and a half, he has struck out on a successful solo career, starting with the release of his debut album &, which came out via Columbia Records in November of 2017. Jesse looks like the kind of emo punk character that could have rolled out of an MTV TRL broadcast in 1999, but his mind is somewhere in 2099. Having recently been featured on Benny Blanco’s track “Better to Lie” alongside Swae Lee and Vic Mensa’s “Dancing In The Streetz,” calling Jesse prolific is an understatement – from September of 2017 through September of 2018 The NBHD released 4 EPs (the last of which culls talents as diverse as Denzel Curry, IDK and Nipsey Hussle to share vocal duties with Jesse) and a studio album in addition to Jesse’s solo album. Now he’s gearing up to launch his debut solo headlining tour, which will kick off what is sure to be a big 2019 for Jesse.
The Flaming Oh’s & Shackletons at the Hook and Ladder – TICKETS
Join us for a special night with Twin Cites rock legends The Flamin’ Oh’s plus special guests The Shackletons and LowRay. Hot off the heels of the acclaimed documentary “Jay’s Longhorn,” we’re honored to be hosting The Oh’s release party.
The Oh’s soared to the upper echelon of Minnesota bands with their lively shows and exciting brand of straightforward rock & roll. They became one of the earliest bands to make music videos. Chuck Statler (music video pioneer who directed videos for DEVO, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and El Vez) directed two videos for the band. The videos aired on a new television network dedicated to music, MTV.
Bruno Major at the Turf Club – TICKETS
There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Last year, Bruno Major set himself a task: to record and release one song a month for 12 months. Four weeks to take a song from an idea in his head to a finished product and have it out there for people to listen to and enjoy, every month, for a year. People had made albums in less time, he reasoned, how hard could it be? “When I first said that I was going to do it most people said, ‘Nice one…that’s never going to happen.’” Major recalls with a laugh. “A lot of people thought it was overly aspirational: it probably was.”
What’s impressive is not so much that he managed to pull it off, more that the challenge produced such a remarkable collection of songs. That within the time frame of a month, Major could produce such fully-realized, beautiful and inventive songs and then repeat the trick the following month, twelve times over. “With a traditional album, there exists the concept of an album track…I haven’t had that luxury because once a month I have to release a song and every song has to be a single. There’s no room for a piano interlude. Each one had to be something that I could stand behind and say: ‘Hey, this is my next single, it’s coming out, I’ve worked on it all month, I hope you like it.’ It forced me to make sure the standard was at a certain level.”
Tristen at the Entry – TICKETS
Photo Credit Marcus Maddox
“Some artists are interested in being complicated, it’s almost like they’re speaking another language just to the connoisseur of the art,” says Tristen. “I have no interest in that. My style is not to be exclusive. It’s to be inclusive. I’m trying to be as clear as possible. I’ve always been interested in the purest form of the idea, so that it can communicate massively.” That theme is at the core of Tristen’s music — music that is smart but accessible, meticulously constructed but undeniably infectious.
A native of South Side Chicago turned longtime Nashville resident, Tristen has released two critically acclaimed solo records — 2011’s Charlatans at the Garden Gate and 2013’s CAVES — and toured extensively as a member of Jenny Lewis’ backing band. The folk-oriented Charlatans earned her praise as “Nashville’s best-kept secret” (The Boston Globe), and the more synth-pop-oriented CAVES featured “tales of greed, alienation and heartache, made poignant but never saccharine by their electronically enhanced surroundings” (Nashville Scene).
Tristen has been singing since she could speak, and writing and recording her own songs since she was a teenager. Now an established touring musician with finely tuned chops and a knack for lashing exceptional melodies to her singularly poetic lyrics, she travels with a practiced backing trio of top-notch Nashville sidemen. Together, they bring Tristen’s lush, expertly crafted arrangements to life, giving the singer room to brandish her outsized vocals and win audiences with her powerful stage presence — performances that channel the rock ’n’ roll eclecticism of David Bowie and the creative prowess of Dolly Parton.
PUP at the Fine Line – TICKETS
As of lately, Toronto has been the breeding grounds for some of the best punk rock bands around. The scene is both a blessing and a curse. There seem to be 1,000+ loud rock bands in this city vying for attention, but when you are able to cut through the static, everyone seems to take notice. This is the case for Toronto four-piece, PUP.
What sets PUP apart in this booming scene is their ability to fuse raw punk energy with catchy earworms, big hooks, and scream-along choruses. Their songs are loud and fast, equal parts unchecked energy and calculated arrangements, with hair-pin turns, raging guitar riffs, and an overload of gang vocals. Live, the band brings it full-throttled, every single show. They’ve gained a reputation for their sweaty, raucous, no-holds-barred live set. They play loud. Like really fucking loud. And every time they get on stage, you can be certain they’re gonna play their guts out – house party, dive bar, festival stage, it doesn’t matter.
That’s why AUX recently called them “One of Toronto’s best live bands” and Grid T.O. named them their “Ones To Watch” for September. In their short two years as a band, PUP has never stopped to catch their breath. It’s been two years of tireless gigging, sleeping on couches, eating vegetable soup, nose-to-the-grindstone, eating/sleeping/breathing music. Two years of awesome tours, shitty tours, shows with Sloan, Titus Andronicus, Tokyo Police Club, Single Mothers, and a million shows with bands you’ve never heard of and probably will never hear of.