Videos: World Gang’s “Dolphin Smiles”

Artist: World Gang
Song: “Dolphin Smiles”
Why you want to watch: Seagulls. So many seagulls.
Details: Darrin Wiener and Jeremiah Green, who write music for all kinds of things, but also for themselves; Green is the drummer for Modest Mouse.

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Show Review: Slowdive & Low @ the Neptune

Slowdive & Low @ the Neptune, 11/4/14
Review by Nick Nihil

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Slowdive

Admittedly I hadn’t actually listened to Slowdive before their show, an assignment I picked up at the last minute, but the way folks seemed to wax nostalgically eloquent upon their ambient, shoegazey glory, I figured they’d probably be up my vine. Plus, Low was opening. Low is an all-timer for me. In fact, had I known ahead of time that at some midwest music festival they’d anger fans and sponsors alike by dedicating their entire set to a 27-minute version of “Do You Know How To Waltz?,” I would have put one of my organs on the black market to get there. Low did no such thing during this set, sticking predominantly with material from The Invisible Way, while leapfrogging through their back catalogue to hit “Monkey,” “Laser Beam,” and “Words.” “Laser Beam” was particularly arresting and this performance of “Monkey” was the most vital I’ve seen yet. Their new material also holds up much better live than on record.

This must have been a pretty sweet gig for Low, who, on their last appearance here, headlined The Crocodile. It seemed most of the crowd arrived early to catch them, as The Neptune’s near 900 capacity was mostly full before Low even took the stage. Rarely does an opening band command so much attention and rarely does an audience shut so thoroughly up during the opener. The sound was impeccable and those pure, beautiful, perfectly complimentary voices of Alan and Mimi Sparhawk were in top form and upfront. Here’s hoping Low can build off this and headline bigger venues – as much as I loved the intimacy in their Crocodile and Tractor shows. They deserve bigger, and they can clearly command it.

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Low

While I hadn’t heard Slowdive I did some cursory homework to orient myself with their history. Apparently never a critics’ darling (critics are dicks), they have clearly found a large and dedicated following. A sold-out show, every song they played was greeted with loud applause and cheering within the first 2 or 3 seconds. At first, I could see where critics may have derided them; certain songs, while sonically pleasing, seemed almost too pleased with their sonic qualities to evolve into something truly compelling. Again, it sounded amazing, and they executed with both purpose and precision, but perhaps the material was too self-consciously pretty. Not enough craft to match Lush, not enough, um. . . My Bloody Valentine-ness to reach My Bloody Valentine. Then they played “Catch the Breeze,” whose interesting key change in the chorus showed they had more up their sleeves. This is the point where the show transitioned from pleasant to captivating. “Alison” was a highlight, and their cover of Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair” – holy shit – brought the evening to a monolithic climax. I’m always skeptical of a band whose best moment is a cover, but they turned Barrett’s spare 2-minute number into a 9-minute rapturous crescendo, clearly stating that they’re their own band doing their own thing, and proving that a great live band can still hold far more power than great electronic acts. Beautiful show.

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Photos: Tove Lo @ Neumos

Swedish pop singer Tove Lo headlined at a sold-out show at Neumos during the middle of her North American tour. Her debut LP, Queen of the Clouds is out this week. It’s in three sections, The Sex, The Love, and The Pain, and also features some selections off her recent EP, Truth Serum, as well as new material.

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Tove Lo

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Photos: Mirah @ St. Mark’s Cathedral

The Fremont Abbey brought their Cathedrals series to St. Mark’s Cathedral, with Mirah headlining. The acoustics of the cavernous, nearly 100-year-old church were perfect for her. Born Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, she came onto the music scene in Olympia in the late 1990s and is now based in Brooklyn. With 10 full-length albums to her name, Mirah is wrapping up her current tour in support of Changing Light, released in May on her own label. Local artists – Lemolo (Meagan Grandall) and Led to Sea (Alex Guy) – opened the event, with Alex also playing in Mirah’s band.

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Led To Sea

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Photos: Tokyo Police Club, Geographer & Said the Whale @ Neumos

Neumos had the great triple bill of Tokyo Police Club, Geographer and Said the Whale on its stage in April. To catch up with these bands, check out Tokyo Police Club’s latest, Forcefield (plus dates all over Canada right now), see Said the Whale also across Canada now through December, and if you’re in California, Geographer has a few dates there in January. All photos by Abby Williamson:

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Said the Whale

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