Last Thursday I was invited (thanks, Hoot Hoots!) to go to a live taping of the relatively-unknown TV show called “Band in Seattle.” This show airs Saturday nights on CW11 in the Puget Sound Area, and in each of its 22-minute episodes it showcases one or two local bands. Well, this week they were taping the season-2 episode that would be showcasing two amazing Seattle bands, The Hoot Hoots and The Jesus Rehab!
Understandably it was a pretty badass show with two such amazing, rockin’ groups taking the stage one right after the other. You might have noticed that I do happen to be quite a fan of bothbands. And, as is my way, I made some Animated .GIFs of the evening. Take a look!
Dance, Jesus Rehab, Dance!
I’m not sure when the episode is actually gonna air, but you’d best believe I’ll let you know. I was standing right up front for both bands’ sets, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a few seconds of screen time here and there! *winku* After all, who wouldn’t want to see this face on TV:
Project: Handsome Runway Man
Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that “Band in Seattle” was a thing until I was invited to it. But it looks like an excellent way to discover some great local talent. Season 2 just premiered on Saturday night featuring none other than another one of my favorite bands, Leeni’s Prom Queen! The episode isn’t available to watch online yet (that I can find), but you can see Prom Queen’s performance here:
Musician of the Month:
I Kill Cameron
Self-described as “Acoustic/Crust Pop/Folk Punk” and “folk punk on the ukulele,” I Kill Cameron is the delightfully expressive, fun, and self-aware ukulele-and-vocal music of Phoebe Zayas-Defiance. This music is earnestly humorous, and Phoebe’s expressive voice coupled with the small-scale, woman+ukulele production creates a rather personal, intimate feeling (even in the songs that feature a full back-up band) that can also get enjoyably raucous and explosive, and it’s hard not to be gladdened by the peppy ukulele. I Kill Cameron boasts song titles like “Carl Sagan Would Love Your Eyes,” “Sorry My Dairy Allergy Inconveniences You,” and “Our Love is an Arcade Game & I Just Ran Out of Quarters.” This music also makes a great spiritual counterpart to Joshua Stephens‘s style of expressive folk-punk.
Movie of the Month:
Prom Queen’s Midnight Veil
I suppose I should put “movie” in quotes like that because, even though it’s an hour long, Midnight Veil is more a loosely-connected string of music videos rather than a full-length movie. Prom Queen is a musical project of Celene “Leeni” Ramadan, and it the kind of darkly-lush 1960s music that would be perfectly at home in a David Lynch movie. In keeping with the music, these videos all painstakingly recreate the look at feel of the 1960s, from the costumes to the cars to the hair. They run the gamut of genres, from darkly gothic to sadly domestic to high-kitch SciFi. The attention to detail is uncanny, even down to the 1960s-style film stock, and the videos feature such Western Washington landmarks as Dick’s Drive-In, Gasworks Park, and XXX Root Beer in Issaquah. This is the kind of sultry music that you can drown in, and the Midnight Veil movie dovetails nicely with my well-established love of the 1960s Spy genre. Really well-done, and really enjoyable.
Don’t believe me? You can actually watch the whole thing for FREE on the YouTubes!
TV Show of the Month:
Z Nation: Season 1
I think people may overlook or dismiss this show because it was made by The Asylum and aired only on SyFy network. Maybe they think it’s just trying to cash-in on the success of The Walking Dead. But Z Nation is really its own beast, and is really unlike almost anything else I’ve seen on TV. For one thing, it’s a great deal of fun. Not for the characters, certainly; what they go through is rather hellish. But it’s all done with a wink and a nod and some very wry twists of humor that make the whole thing very enjoyable. I really appreciate how the creators of the show also seem willing to try anything. We get some inventive zombie iterations in this show, including (but not limited to) zombies coated in oil, zombies caught up in a tornado (yes, just like the sharks), radioactive zombies in a nuclear power plant, a zombie bear, a zombie high on marijuana, and that’s just to name a few. The show is also one of the only ones where there is really no sense of security for any of the characters. Z Nation goes out of its way to show that anyone can die at any time. You can’t take it too seriously at any point, but it’s just a lot of fun. Bonus: one of my friends gets eaten in episode 3!
Credit where credit is due (arrow added by me for emphasis).
Back in September I wrote about Prom Queen (aka Celene Ramadan, aka chiptune musician Leeni) and her very exciting and ambitious Kickstarter campaign to make a 12-song album with 12 accompanying videos that, when strung together, will form a full-length film.
The Kickstarter campaign was obviously a success. How could it not be? It was an awesome idea.
The expected delivery date is April 2014, so I’m excitedly anticipating that. In the meantime, though, filming chugs on. One video has been completed and released, the video to “Can’t Seem to Cry.” And a big chunk of it just happened to be filmed in one of my all-time favorite restaurants:
Listen up, ’cause I’m gonna break it down for you.
XXX Root Beer is a burger joint in Issaquah:
It is probably my favorite burger joint in the state, despite its distance from Tacoma. They have amazing, huge, incredibly-sloppy burgers (but don’t ask for a fork & knife no matter how sloppy they are). But since their name is XXX Root Beer, they’re known of course for their homemade root beer floats. These things are gargantuan and come in mugs the size of your face. Not only do they have scoops of ice cream in them, but the mug is garnished with a scoop of ice cream on the rim.
Still no baby! Everything’s ready for her (including us), but no birth over the weekend. Instead, I made a couple of Mix CDs. Yes, actual, physical CDs. Yes, I still do that sometimes, though it has actually been a couple of years since I’ve done so. So because it’s been so long, I decided to make a double-disc. I also threw out my rule about trying to have only one repeat from previous discs (there are a lot of repeats on these).
For this set I just arranged my collection alphabetically by artist and started at the top. I tried not to use more than 2 songs for any given artist chosen. I got down to the “P” artists before I filled up two discs! I fudged the order a couple of times (Julia Massey shouldn’t be on the first disc, for example), but whatever.
So here are the track lists. Wherever possible I tried to link to somewhere where you could download the song, or at least to a place where you can listen to the song. I was actually able to find them all… except for the songs that I wrote myself…
Anyway, enjoy! There are some good stuffs on these: Disc 1
Today I’m talking about Prom Queen once again, this time because she has a pretty awesome idea for a Kickstarter campaign. You see, Prom Queen wants to put out a new album, Midnight Veil. But instead of just putting out a new album, she wants to make a video for each song. But instead of just making a video for each song, she wants to make a series of videos that, together, make up a film. As she puts it:
Prom Queen: Midnight Veil will be a full-length album-film. I will be making 12 videos for each of the 12 songs and they will be strung together and woven into a film, or rather an interconnected series of short-films.
It’s quite an ambitious project, and she’s asking for $12,000. That may seem like a lot, but it really just breaks down to $1,000 per video, which is really not very much money to produce professional-quality videos.
I really like projects like these. It reminds me of Daft Punk’s Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, in which Daft Punk’s Discovery album was transformed into a full-length animé movie designed by the acclaimed Leiji Matsumoto (Battle Ship Yamamoto, Captian Harlock). Plus Prom Queen is no stranger to making movies; Celene directed the puppet classic A Very Alan Thickemass a few years ago (unfortunately the movie seems to have disappeared from the internet except for one clip). Her recent video for “This Town Ain’t Big Enough” was super-professional (though as she points out she didn’t direct it herself, it still proves she knows how to surround herself with talented folks). So I have every confidence that this movie can kick some major ass, if we kick it first.
Link of the Month: A Mighty Girl
I know I said I wouldn’t post baby stuff on this blog, but this website is just too cool to pass up. It’s a one-stop resource for all media that positively portrays girls (from pre-schoolers to pre-teens) in a strong, independent, intelligent, and otherwise positive light. This is where to go to help girls become active and confident participants in their lives, not just passive princesses waiting for a hero. These girls are their own heroes.
Album of the Month: Prom Queen: Night Sound
“Prom Queen” is one of the musical projects by friend-of-a-friend Celene Ramadan, who is also known as my favorite chiptune musician, Leeni. Prom Queen is pretty far from Leeni. It’s lush, dreamy, 1960s-inspired music. Dark, sultry, dangerous, and sensual (and authentically vintage), this album sounds like the ultimate yard sale vinyl find in a very, very good way. As Celene puts it, “If David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino were to co-direct your prom, this would be the soundtrack.”
Here’s a video of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough”
Exhibit of the Month: Cooper
Now through January 2014, the Washington State History Museum has an exhibit about the notorious Dan “D.B.” Cooper, the only unsolved domestic hijacking case in the history of the United States. The D.B. Cooper case has been romanticized over the years (right now there’s a very funny D.B. Cooper comic book that postulates he was a super-secret agent who fights aliens and monsters and such) and become something of a pop-culture icon. Heck, there was even an important storyline about him on NewsRadio in the 90s! So it’s nice to actually get some grounding and learn about all the actual facts surrounding this mystery man. It’s a fascinating exhibit, even though it does at times veer too far off into modern-day air security (many measures of which were developed in response to Cooper’s actions). It also has a bit of a personal connection: Carrie’s dad worked for Northwest airlines when the hijacking happened (he wasn’t involved in the least, though, since he was stationed in Cleveland at the time). There are also some really awesome artifacts: actual stewardess uniforms, vintage travel posters, airline giveaways and the like. Good stuff.
Prom Queen is one of Leeni‘s side projects. It’s got a creepy 60s-ish mellow vibe, like something you’d listen to in the dark, eating a cheeseburger and drinking a milkshake while wearing a circle skirt (if you’re a girl).
Robb Benson is an uber-talented Seattle musician who has been in a half-dozen bands in the last 10 years. We saw him perform live once in 2000, and have kinda picked up some songs by him here and there. We recently re-discovered him via The Glass Notes and now are totally stoked to go see him play sometime soon.
By the time you read this I will have most likely gotten some of these. So, y’know, there’s that.
So what am I missing, folks? What other musics should I pick up?