By the time 7:00 PM rolled around on Tuesday night, the line of concert-goers waiting to be let into the Showbox stretched around a corner and over block and a half. I talked to nearly everyone waiting in line before the show, and most of them weren’t aware of who R&B artist Stanaj was other than being the opener for SoMo. By the end of the night, I think the singer made quite the impression on the crowd as he showcased his good humor and impressive voice in a relatively short set of 7 songs.
Stanaj opened with “Goddess”, one of the four songs released on his first EP, The Preview. The song started him off strong and showed many clueless members of the audience what they were in store for with him, as he belted out the lyrics “Love beyond the sky / When heaven and Earth collide” in falsetto during the song. He was able to perfectly set the tone for the night, which was decidedly sexy, and display his wide vocal range at the same time.
The singer took a moment to address the crowd in front of him in between songs to talk about food poisoning and being sick, both of which he experienced the day before the show. He drew laughs from the audience when he went on about using throat spray for his voice due to his recent illness, and commenting that he wasn’t sure who he’d be kissing tonight because the throat spray tasted so awful. He kept up similarly playful “banter” with the audience throughout his time on stage, and this worked to create some rapport between him and the crowd and made his show, at least for me, pretty enjoyable even when he wasn’t singing.
Stanaj continued the show with two more songs from his EP. “Romantic” was the slowest song of the night, and it worked nicely with the crowd’s energy. He also sang a personal favorite of mine, “Ain’t love strange”, which is really something else to hear live. I couldn’t get enough of his super smooth voice and emotional intensity on stage as he belted out “Maybe baby, I’ve seen crazier things / Stranger things have happened, how strange would it be / If I told you I believed you were made for me?”.
He gave a sneak peek at a new song called “Meant to Be”, a slow, bittersweet ballad that included beautiful lyrics like “it must have been our names written in the stars”. Stanaj also did a cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” while playing the piano, a song which he said was one of his favorites to play. He has a cover of the song on YouTube, where he first started posting covers and was able to initially gain popularity through the platform. He humorously told the crowd, “It gets me in the feels bro” after finishing the song, which helped to lighten up the heavy, heartsick feeling permeating the venue when he finally finished the emotional song. He finished the set with the slightly more upbeat “Sleep Alone”, which is also on his EP. It served as a nice finale and definitely pumped the crowd up for SoMo’s following set.
Stanaj waited by his merch booth to meet people after show, and took pictures with fans as they waited to exit the venue. Though he might not be an influencer yet, his music is already catching the attention of fans and established artists alike. He has already been seen in circles with big music names like Drake and Chris Brown, and I can say after seeing one live show, I cannot wait to see what he has in store. My one complaint about the singer? He has only four songs out. I’ll definitely be watching out for new music from artist Stanaj.
This Saturday, November 26th, indie rock band Car Seat Headrest will be performing at the Neptune Theatre, along with opening band The Domestics. Although originally from Leesburg, Virginia, the band has since relocated to Seattle and is playing their first show here in several months. They are touring in support of their recent album Teens of Denial, which was released earlier this year, and is also their first full-length release of new music since signing to Matador Records. In addition to their 2 traditionally released albums, Car Seat Headrest also has many fantastic albums available on Bandcamp (some of them for free!).
As a huge fan of the band, and someone who’s been following their tour closely, I expect it to be a great show, and I hope they play some songs from the older albums, which are (in my opinion) overlooked. The Domestics are a new band to me, so I’ll be curious to see their performance.
The upcoming show is on November 22nd at the Showbox, Seattle and is part of R&B and soul artist SoMo’s current U.S. tour. He’s touring with singer Stanaj, and the show will hopefully be an amazing showcase of the two R&B singer/songwriters. Both artists are signed with Republic Records, and have released new music lately. SoMo recently released a single, “First” in August 2016, and also released another single “Control” earlier this year.
Stanaj had a lot of hype before releasing his first EP, The Preview, in August 2016. He’s gained much of his notoriety leading up to the actual release of his original music through his popular YouTube covers and talk of collaboration with big industry names like Drake.
Personally, I’m mostly looking forward to Stanaj’s incredible vocals, and I’m extremely curious to hear him live. If The Preview is any indication of how the show is going to go, I will not be disappointed.
This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeingM83 perform live at the WaMu Theater. The show was as epic as one would expect, and my only complaints arose from the venue itself.
M83 opened up their set with ambient synth drones until blasting head-first into “Reunion” as the first song of the set. While the mix did come off bass-heavy, due to the acoustics of WaMu, the reverb-drenched vocals floated excellently over the top. Anthony Gonzalez and his band transitioned instantly into a rendition of the first single from the new album, “Do It, Try It”. I’m not a huge fan of the recorded version of this song, but hearing it in a live setting did bring out the energy and excitement of the song in a way that was enjoyable to dance to.
Continuing on further into the set, M83 continued to mix old hits with new tracks as personal favorites such as “Steve McQueen” found their way into the mix. The concert stayed at relative high energy for a majority of the first half with most of the songs steadily growing until reaching a climax at the end. An excellent contrast to this was the performance of the song “Wait” which came about half way through the concert. The lights dimmed and only shimmering stars on the backdrop shown through while the beautifully simple acoustic guitar began to reach out and the whole crowd went silent. It seemed everyone in the crowd had their arm around at least one other person for the duration of the song. This ended up being the standout moment of the concert for me, as M83 showed the power music can have on bringing everyone together.
Following the journey of “Wait”, the music kicked back into gear as more synth explosions and energetic drums continued to move the crowd. An 8+ minute jam on the song “Couleurs” grooved non-stop while the classic “Midnight City” saw the crowd jumping uncontrollably as everyone sang along with the sax solo. After many new and old tracks, M83 ended their encore with “Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun”. Another one of my personal favorites, the song almost seems to be a representation of M83 in its most basic and purest form.
As a band, M83 performed excellently. They were tight and together while bringing the energy to the stage. It would have been great to see the band taking more risks as the set list did feel incredibly well rehearsed to the point of it feeling cemented into only existing in one version. The sound did come off as being slightly unbalanced at some points, but as with any live performance, location of listening plays a huge factor into how one perceives the mix. On a visual note, the stage glowed vibrant of neon as lights danced around the theater and the songs took on a new life of their own. Masters of having a sound infinitely bigger than themselves and channeling the nostalgia of our youth, M83 create an experience with their live set and it’s one I would recommend to anyone.
It’s 10 minutes before the interview and my phone rings to my dismay. The basement of Winkenwerder was not where I wanted to talk shop with one of my favorite musicians. But there I stood, with a piece of TP in one hand and a buzzing cell phone in the other.
“Shit,” I mutter – fully intending my pun as I answer the Texas caller ID.
“Hi, I’m calling for your interview with André. I know it’s not for another ten minutes but he’s ready now and we’d love to get started.”
“Of course!” I grin as it starts to feel real. Standing with my pants half-pulled up, I remember my situation. “Erm… Can I call you back in 5 minutes? I just need to get everything set up.”
“Yeah sure. I’ll call you then.” Click.
I fasten my belt, swing my pack over my shoulder and head out into the hallway – frantic to find a spot to sit in relative silence. Behind a giant stump that looks like it was cut from a forest a millennia ago, I slump over and attempt to set up my audio recording equipment before my phone rings again.
“Ready?” He asks.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I respond with slight hesitation as my recording fails to start. A familiar voice is heard on the line and some light indie rock can be heard in the background.
It’s about time Portland grew up
From his home studio in Portland, Oregon, André Anjos talks about the last six years of his life living in the eccentric city. “I feel like a local,” he states first off, “and I love it here.” He goes on to explain that the city has been changing “like crazy” just like the Bay Area and Seattle. Referencing a recent trend in real-estate listings, he laughs about seeing “No California”-stickers, “as if that would dissuade people from moving here.”
Photo courtesy of Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
“People are complaining,” he goes on to mention. “They’re saying that a lot of things that made Portland unique is getting lost.” Although he really has appreciated the “amazing food” and “interesting things” in the city, André wants Portland to grow up a bit. Hesitating, he puts off the rest of his answer – stating that he might have a better opinion in a couple of years.
Portland, prisons and college
“Everything post-college has been here in Portland,” André goes on to say. “Well, sort of. I spend more time at the airport than at home.” We laugh.
“A couple of friends moved here.” His buddy, Karl Kling, had a girlfriend out here in college and they had a place to move. Rent was “cheap” – at the time it was $500 a month. Coming from a life at Greenville College in Illinois, this was quite the change.
“Three thousand people in the town were prison inmates and they counted that as part of the population,” he laughs. “It was a very small town and a dry town!” He had never heard of something like that before, especially since coming from Portugal, where the drinking age is fourteen.
When asked about his major, André couldn’t help but make a few jokes. “I got a music business degree, which is hilarious.” Greenville college was in the middle of nowhere and the Portugal native decided to learn about music from a bunch of old Illinoisans. “Maybe some basic knowledge came in handy,” he continues, trying to give some credit to his education. “But the music industry changes every year and you’re learning information that’s five years old in college.”
So, in school, he learned how the music industry used to work. “I guess you could say I earned a music business history major,” we laugh again.
The idea of RAC, what happened to the collective
“From the beginning, we wanted to be a group of people that all do remixes under one name,” he explained. “We could gather some talent and do it as a group as opposed to an individual person doing on your own.”
“How did that work out?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“You know when you’re in a group project and you’re the one person doing it all?” He asked rhetorically. “Well, I was doing it all. A lot of people had jobs and real obligations – I was just in school.” So André took over the project and started doing everything under the same name, Remix Artist Collective.
“The name stuck and I kind of ignored it. When I started touring, I brought Karl who started DJing with me.” The definition of the name, he went on to explain had started changing during those tours until it stopped meaning anything. As he moved into producing original music, it ceased to make any sense but, “at one point,” he explains, “I decided that I spent six years of my life building this brand… I’m just gonna stick with it.”
“It’s called RAC,” he concludes. “It doesn’t mean anything – it doesn’t matter.”
Now that things have developed and he’s become a writer of original music, the name has unintentionally become a point of confusion. He’s now writing with other people, covering tracks with his wife and has even produced original music for the HBO series, Entourage.
Independence, album woes and staying relevant
"I feel like I put out a track every week,” André says. “A lot are remixes but… it’s just easier to focus on a song at a time and just put [that one] out.” Since recording his album in 2011 and having to wait three years for the record label to approve the content for legal and distribution reasons, RAC has taken a step back from the traditional record deal.
“After the album came out, I didn’t really feel like it was relevant to do that in 2015,” he says of the album’s long release schedule. As of June 2015, a month after getting out of his contract, André has been dropping music at least once a month with a staggered release schedule. From single tracks to lyric videos, these regular releases are his way of “keeping [his] head above the noise.”
“There’s a lot of amazing work, and a lot of mediocre work out there… [the internet] is so incredibly saturated [with it]. Fortunately, a thing I got used to with remixes is getting to do things very quickly.” Despite the constant work, André is satisfied with this new methodology as, “with a waiting period that was once three years is now two months at the most.”
When discussing the success of his album, he reminisced but responded contritely, “the music doesn’t represent who I am anymore. You have three years of built-up expectations and when they don’t go in [the way you want], it’s so frustrating.”
Making music, with new singles and successes
Last month’s single, “3AM feat. Katie Herzig” (embedded below) has been quite the success – garnering almost half a million plays in the weeks since its release. When I asked him how he felt about this, André answered estatically, “I feel like we’re gaining momentum and people are catching on to what we’re doing. We compare numbers a lot since we’re doing things independently. Keeping my eye on it [lets me] make sure things are going well. I think it’s been a very fun game to get into that that, [especially] in these last couple of tracks.”
With all the data analysis that he and his team had been doing, I followed up by asking why he still makes music. Despite a somewhat-programmatic release schedule and metrics to understand their success, RAC manages to keep the soul in the music.
“So who do you make music for then?” I asked, “Your numbers? Your fans? Yourself?”
“Myself,” André answered, “Absolutely.” Stating that he continues to make music “purely for [his] own entertainment,” the man just wants to be happy with what he does. As it turns out a big part of him being happy is making others happy!
“I’m not just stroking my beard, happily listening to my own music,” he says. “For one, I don’t have a beard and I see it as kind of a game and it’s my job and it’s something to have fun with.” His goal is to “keep going” as he’s noticed the music is “creating an outlet for this weird desire [to] ‘have to make music’ and want[ing] to keep that going.”
“Part of growth is being heard and having people listen to your music,” he says. For André it seems that this is the core of the game. “Artists that say it doesn’t affect them are lying,” he continues. “If a lot of people are stoked about your song, it really affects you.”
In regards to his fans, he said “it feels good when sometimes people will leave really kind messages like, ‘hey this helped me out during this time of my life’.” He hears me smile through the phone and continues, “I don’t sit down and write songs to help people in that way, but it’s a really nice validation.”
Building a synth and making some music
In addition to his solo work as RAC, André still finds time to record music with his wife, Liz. “There was this goal on the surface to release [them] as a free track to celebrate when we hit milestones on social media,” he says of the covers (check them out on soundcloud). “There’s obviously a selfish side of it and it’s a fun project.” Aside from the benefits of recording for fun, he also has been grateful for the opportunity to be creative in a way he hadn’t tried before. “Working with Liz is also really fun,” he sums up, “even though we live together, we rarely collaborate.”
In his home studio in Portland, the electronic musician mostly uses physical instruments, “whether that’s a synth, drum machine, guitar, bass… I have a lot of toys and I just work [here],” he says. “It’s a really nice balance with the touring and, when I’m not touring, it’s good to be home.”
When it comes to his own production, André just “feels more comfortable” playing an instrument rather than programming music on the computer. “You can create exclusive items that you just can’t make on a computer since most people don’t have [the same] instrument,” he explains. “You create a unique sound that’s impossible to replicate.”
“The problem is that I can’t work when I’m travelling,” he continues. “I can’t fix a mix or something when I’m on the road, which can be frustrating.” Despite his long time spent on the road, the remix artist still finds time to come home and write original music on his modular synthesizer. “I’m a building a modular synth,” he says excitedly. “It started with one box and now I have five. It’s so much fun and it’s so nerdy!”
Yet the synthesizer has been more than a toy in André’s creative process. With it’s inspirational aesthetic and pleasantly unique sound, the modular synth has become a “magical machine”:
You turn the lights on and it’s blinking. It gets really heady sometimes when I have to think about every wire. But it creates a situation where a lot of unexpected things can happen. Most of the time they’re very positive things, like happy accidents – you can stumble upon a sound. It’s a magical machine. There’s so much potential that sometimes it’s too much… but it’s great because of that.
After geeking out about gear, it’s easy to become existential in describing the sound of an instrument. So André concludes, “I’m very into the studio and that whole process. I’d say I probably enjoy recording music just as much as I do writing it.”
Inspiration and dedication, some advice for new artists
The PR rep’s voice came over the line, “Hey guys. We’re running kind of behind so this could be the last question or so.” Looking at my notes, I grew excited as I read, “Which relatively new musicians have you been listening to or enjoying lately?”
Immediately, André answered, “A decent amount of people know Pomo. He’s a guy from Montreal and it’s just a breath of fresh air compared to the EDM, droning military march stuff. I really like it. His remixes are really top notch and I always check them out and add them to our set.”
I followed up by asking what advice he could give new electronic artists. He answered:
I think it’s important to learn how a lot of these sounds are created, specifically for electronic artists. If you learn the basics and understand synthesis, it’s going to go a long way. You can’t do the production tricks if you don’t know it. Learn the basics of recording and avoid presets. They are an easy way to get a specific sound that sounds good but then there’s everybody else and they’re using the same thing. If you can distance yourself from that and try creating sounds from scratch, [you’ll find] you’ll especially know what you’re doing.
Another line could be heard coming into the phone call and André began to quickly finish up. “Musicians need to beat themselves,“ he said. "You don’t want to be somebody else since they already exist. You can be inspired by other people, but try to do something that, personally, you’d be.”
Rainy Dawg Radio is throwing a tantrum! After 12 years of feeling brought down by the man, we’re ready for our final years of pre-teen excellence. THIS FRIDAY, our favorite bands are setting up shop in Sylvan Grove to celebrate our terrible twelfth birthday (we’re soooo old)!
If you haven’t already, you can RSVP via our facebook event! There you can find updates before and during the show, including posts about food, fun and free swag. For example:
If phantasmagorical frybread isn’t enough, there will also be music! Lots of music… including:
After local artists Crater and Shaprece rocked out with their high energy and expressive vibes, Moses Sumney assumed his position in front of the audience at the Ethnic Cultural Center on Wednesday, January 28th. Just his very presence sent ethereal sensations throughout the venue, creating a kind of piercing silence that is only heardwhen crowds of people are in complete and utter awe of whatever it is they find
themselves collectively part of. “There’s gonna be a lot of surprises tonight,
for both of us,” Moses Sumney said with a laugh as he grabbed the mic and
started to test the waters on the stage. His sly remarks gave the impression that
he may have been a tad nervous, but the moment he started playing music it
became clear that nerves were most certainly not a factor in his phenomenal
performance. Although I might not have plastic wings like Moses Sumney (as
heard in his song “Plastic”), I felt myself float as he began to experiment
with his inspiring soul/folk sounds.
sounds began to develop into loops of his voice, overlapping each other—resulting
in a trancelike, overwhelming foundation for the musical journey he was
beginning to create for the audience. I’ve never been to another show where I
felt like I was watching art being created in front of my eyes and ears, but
Moses Sumney really achieved that with the techniques he used to create his
beautiful compositions. Aside from the use of a guitar, the only other
instrument Moses used on stage was his voice and his looping tool to create a
unique experience unlike any other that I’ve felt at a live show. Each
individual noise coming out of his mouth and guitar somehow developed into
beautiful songs that surrounded the audience in an unearthly bubble that popped
in each audience member’s mind.
opening song—“Dwell in the Dark”—was one of his more upbeat folky songs that
created liveliness throughout the ECT. This and his next song, “Man on the Moon,”
set the tone for the rest of the night as being a soulful and unique one on the
UW campus. As this song came to an end, he held one high note and began looping
his voice into a really interesting mix of sounds. The tones in this mixture
became almost anxiety-inducing in the best possible way—causing listeners to
feel a bit uncomfortable in their seats as they felt the growing sublime energy
swallow and capture their senses. The Ethnic Cultural Center turned into a cave
of creation, full of reverberating sounds including beat boxing, clapping, and
intonations of Moses Sumney’s heavenly voice (as can be seen and heard below).
He later went into playing one of
my favorite songs of the night—“Worth It”—and joked about it being written
about tuition increases (hehe, thanks for keeping a positive attitude about
tuition rises, Mr. Sumney). The biggest crowd pleaser of the night definitely
came when Moses began playing “Plastic,” one of his most played songs on his Soundcloud. He eased into playing this mellow and sexy tune while receiving cheering
from the entire audience to continue his outstanding work. There was one point
during the song that he began to actually whisper, almost teasing listeners to
beg for more of his smooth voice.
the night, I felt myself become emotionally controlled by the powerful hold
that the music had over me; however, the saddest part came when Moses Sumney’s
music had to stop. As he exited with a standing ovation (no surprise there), I
found myself wishing for an encore more than I had ever in my entire life. Unfortunately
there was no encore, but I did get a chance to briefly speak with Moses after
the show and get a picture with this up and coming legend.
Incase you weren’t able to come
around this time to experience this one-of-a-kind musician; I strongly recommend
you check him out the next time he’s in Seattle (which lucky for you is on
February 17th at Neumos)! You won’t regret it—I can speak from experience when I say that it will be an ear-opening performance to remember as last Wednesday’s was at the ECT.
Sumney’s lighthearted demeanor lets his music envelop the listener. Seamlessly flowing between his drawn out ooo’s and aah’s and falsetto lyricism, his music is faded. In listening to Moses sing, we are forced to concentrate on more than just the initial comfort he brings.
During the show, expect plenty of meditations and sudden realizations as Sumney brings his heart to the stage. His music, as well as songs from the whole lineup, are available for streaming on ASUW A&E’s SoundCloud.
Playing before Moses will be Crater, one of Seattle’s most danceable experimental electronic acts. Band members, CBG x KFG, are joined onstage by Gomez, Gordon, Roth, Umble, according to the band’s facebook page. The craterbabes (as they are known on social media) rely on guitars and ambient electronic sounds strung together to generate an existential groove. Plus, they seem pretty excited about performing for us:
Shaprece will also be making an appearance as she sheds her general collection of instruments for a more “stripped set”. In her previous acts that I’ve seen, the sheer amount of sound from her band provided the perfect driving force behind Shaprece’s amazingly talented vocals. For this performance, however, she’ll be leaving most of that sound behind. It will be exciting to see how this change affects her sound and dynamic range!
With Seattle’s rain accumulation on the steady upswing, I think it’s safe to say we could all use a bit of sunshine. Well, you’re in luck: Springtime Carnivore’s self-titled debut comes in clutch when trying to brighten up a particularly overcast day. With lofty melodies and a tone that places a warm and fuzzy feeling deep in your bones, Springtime Carnivore provokes a nostalgia for a time that many of us (including Greta Morgan, mastermind behind this project) have never actually experienced. Head-bopping beats, whistling melodies and bright keys epitomize the best aspects of early ‘60s pop, and Greta’s voice is just distorted enough to give it that lo-fi feel we all love.
The album begins with the short “Western Pink”, a keyboard-dominated instrumental that flows right into the poppier aspects of her sound. “Collectors” and “Name on a Matchbook” each showcase SP’s supreme talent for weaving catchy pop sensibilities amongst fuzzy guitars and psychedelic-tinged keys, creating an indie-pop song that will force you to drop what you’re doing and dance around like a teenager at a Sock-Hop.
Things slow down with the ballad-y “Foxtrot Freak (Something in the Atmosphere)”, featuring a beautifully bare vocal track free from effects until her reverb-drenched harmonies flood the chorus. “Other Side of the Boundary” is even more stripped-down, and is best categorized as a truly melancholy acoustic ballad. This tune allows SP’s folk side to shine beautifully, and her falsetto in the chorus leaves you with chills running down your spine.
After picking up the tempo a bit in “Last One to Know” and “Two Scars”, Springtime Carnivore ends on a somber note with “Find a New Game”, featuring only Greta and her keyboard. Get a taste by listening to the latest track available for streaming, “Sun Went Black” below:
From full-blown indie-pop songs to simple piano accompaniments, Springtime Carnivore reaches a wide range of appeal, all the while maintaining loyalty to a ‘60s sound that the younger generation wishes we could have experienced the first time around. However, her record brings a modern twist that gives the music much more depth and longevity. I’m sure we’ll be envied by our grandkids for being able to experience her sound the first time around.
Check out her full album on iTunes and Amazon, and get a taste on Autumn Tone Record’s Soundcloud
A throwback post right here guys! A few weeks back (Oct 12th to be exact)(or last month to be more precise), with two tickets, I got to watch Angus and Julia Stone live at The Showbox. We were ushered in at 7pm but it started out with a local opening act who was touring with them. They didn’t come out till 9.30pm so it was quite a wait!
The four-pieced band came out and immediately started performing “A Heartbreak.” The ambiance of it all suddenly made me feel like I was in a ‘70s rock concert. The voice you listen to on your iTunes or Spotify of Julia’s voice was exactly the same when she performed live. Scratch that, even better! Angus, with his shabby facial hair in a cap and strumming his heart out on his guitar, was looking hella attractive. His voice was a great combination with Julia’s.
One of the highlights of the night was when they agreed to play “Devil’s Tears” upon one of the audience’s request. Personally, their best performance was when they played their top hit “Big Jet Plane.” It was just goosebumps and feels for me from the start to end. Just when we thought the concert was over, the crowd was cheering for more. They came back on the stage and the siblings did a duet of the haunting lullaby “Santa Monica Dream.”
You would expect to be bored at a concert by a duo who usually sings slow indie rock songs. However, for a huge fan like me, it wasn’t boring at all. The beauty of Angus and Julia’s voices matched together followed by atmospheric background music playing was entertaining. It was everything I expected it to be and more! They’re definitely a duo to spot out for at any upcoming music festivals in Seattle.