Photos: Brent Amaker and the Rodeo & the Redwood Plan

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo
and The Redwood Plan played the High Dive last Saturday and how fortunate it was to have them on the same bill. I’d been hearing good stuff about Lesli Wood’s new band, the Redwood Plan and they more than lived up to all the wonderful things said about them. I recommend you buy their debut EP now as it’s sweet and glorious. And as always Brent Amaker and the Rodeo were supreme. They’re getting even better and I am so pleased they’re recording new material right now.

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo – photos by Dagmar

The Redwood Plan – photos by Dagmar

More photos:
the Redwood Plan at the High Dive

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo at the High Dive, page 1

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo at the High Dive, page 2


Photos: two kick-ass nights with the redwood plan

The Redwood Plan played last Thursday night with Dept of Energy and Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, whose loyal drunk fans filled the High Dive, dancing and shooting toy guns. Beer-cozies were flung (I got one), and shots of… whiskey? were administered (Dagmar got one).


The Redwood Plan has changed bassists since I’ve seen them – Jamie Hellgate has been replaced by Billie Stultz, who was unable to play after a recent bike accident, so we were treated to Larry Brady’s efforts both nights. Larry sounded great at the High Dive, then he stepped it up, as they all did, on Friday. The Crocodile was full of Ida Maria fans who signed up through 107.7 The End to be listed for the free show. The Redwood Plan took the stage to a fairly full room and gained a lot of new fans, selling out of on-hand CDs immediately – probably before they had their gear packed away. They rocked that stage and I can’t wait to see them again at the Comet Tavern on May 21st.

I realized while reviewing my The Redwood Plan photo set that I’m a much better fan than photographer to this band – I can’t seem to leave that spot right near Lesli and would rather sing and clap along than snap photos. Here are my favorites from both nights.








Album Review: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – Vs. Children

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Vs. Children

* * * *

In a highly anticipated follow up to 2006’s Etiquette, Owen Ashworth offers plenty of lo-fi sounds, rounded out not just with his signature electronic tinkering, but with a more grown-up presence.  The honkytonk keys are toned down, and Ashworth slips in a mature selection of horns and strings.  Don’t be fooled though – this is still music for The Painfully alone.

Ashworth broods over plenty of dark subject matter on the album, mostly of a deviant nature.  Criminals, parents and even one of Ashworth’s former co-workers are all lyric fodder, and why not?  No one is spared in this thirty-minute smorgasbord of angst, but great art sometimes requires great suffering.

‘Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)’ conjures up the work of Conor Oberst, with a steady country beat and crooning hallelujahs that are the backbone of any great travelling song.  Ashworth sings of “skeletons of cigarettes & empty cans & bottles”, but without any trace of ennui.

‘Northfield, MN’ is a standout track, a moody and lilting monument to every parent’s worst nightmare unfolding – “you took the baby to your mother’s end of June, & kissed her for the last time”.  The staccato keyboards and Ashworth’s deadpan vocals make for an affecting five minutes which will draw you to the track again and again.

The horrorshow is reversed in ‘Killers’, a tick-tock tale of the pressure to abort an unwanted child and the flippant force with which the decision could be made – “call in sick, I’ll get some movies…we could be killers just for one night”.  The music is minimal, and poised to create an atmosphere of morose tension.

The chilling trilogy reaches its third trimester with ‘Harsh The Herald Angels Sing’, a song fit to undo all of the gloss and glory of a certain “edgy” movie about teenage pregnancy released a couple of years ago.  In an apathetic anticlimax, our unwed mother-to-be is harassed by her neighbours and spends the morning puking her guts out.  There are no supportive parents, no baby showers and no unrealities here – “it’s difficult & it’s boring”.

Vs. Children is a collection of uncomfortable stories, but it’s one that you can probably relate to and take comfort in.  If you’re looking for a summer party album, Vs. Children takes a backseat to its predecessor – there’s more of a country flavour, which decreases the tempo significantly.  But hey – while you’re out in the country, you might as well slow down to enjoy the view.

Vs. Children is out now on Tomlab Records.

Nicky Andrews


Show preview: Sleepy eyes of death @ chop suey this friday

Sleepy Eyes of Death is one of the best bands I’ve seen in my 25+ years of show-going. My first exposure to them was at a live show last year, when I became an instant fan. It’s obvious they’re serious about their sound and the hard work it takes to prepare for their live show, with all that gear and meticulously placed lights, pays off immeasurably when you’re standing in the audience with their music and fog washing over you.

Chop Suey will be a great venue for Sleepy Eyes of Death – I can’t recommend this show highly enough and hope to see you there. Check back here post-show for photos and an in-depth interview I recently conducted with this amazing local band.

Oh! And check out this video for one of my favorite songs, Final Heart Beats Black.

A few shots from past shows:






Photos: The Lonely Forest & New Faces @ the Vera Project

The Lonely Forest released their new CD, We Sing the Body Electric at the Vera Project on Friday night. They were joined by New Faces, the Globes and Wild Orchid Children. Sadly I arrived late to the show and missed most of the Globes. Wild Orchid Children had some technical difficulties that made the vocals impossible to hear- always a shame – but managed to do some intriguing drum work among the entire band.

Now, on to the Lonely Forest and New Faces. It’s trite to say that the future of Seattle music in good hands. How many times can you read that and say it? It’s so true though when we’re talking about these bands. They’re luscious. The Lonely Forest gave out homemade cookies and their guitarist kept playing despite a bleeding wound on his left knuckles. My favorite song was Blackheart Vs. Captain America.

You can catch the Lonely Forest again in Seattle with Jeremy Enigk at Neumos on May 14th. I will be there.

I’m probably more than a little crazy about New Faces. Even though he was battling a flu bug, their bassist Kyle kept going, at one point asking for the bass to be turned up. One thing people must know about me is that I love a loud bass so this was bonus bonus bonus. Thank you New Faces. Favorite song? Ms. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

New Faces play June 10th @ Neumos with Scotland’s 1990s as part Noise for the Needy. I will be there for this one too.

You can see more photos I took of both bands here:
The Lonely Forest @ the Vera Project
New Faces @ the Vera Project