Le Beat

Komdu sæl, from Iceland, roughly this means greetings or come happy! Which strikes me as odd because in my experience this week Iceland is a serenely austere place and people. Not lacking in friendliness, just a slightly more Seattle reception (Seattle is Iceland’s sister city to be fair) than to be expected. In other words, this place is really, really cool and I feel really, really American. Everyone and everything is criminally beautiful.

There are a few things I’ve come to realize Iceland can’t get enough of; booze (10 years legal), anything from America in the 1980’s, and most importantly live music. I saw one of the best rock shows I’ve seen in a while in an upscale hotel lobby for Iceland Airwaves proving an incredible community support for local musicians. Shows are happening everywhere here, I would love to see this start happening in Bellingham.

This place has made me realize how much love I have for local music scenes everywhere, and importantly Bellingham. Right now there’s a wealth of quality music venues across town. Be a patron! These venues only exist because we live somewhere with enough love for music to carry a variety of venues, which means you got to get out to shows…insert plug for our new FREE show finder app if you don’t know where to start. Start taking some risks, I have pretty good faith in the people booking the shows in this town right now.

Pre & Post Recording

Sam Chue of the Vonvettas is in the studio. He was always my favorite act at open mic night on campus. Don’t tell anyone, sometimes I would cry a little bit when he played Damien Rice covers. I’m hoping for equally sad recordings so I can cry at home where it is much more appropriate.

The star of a soon to be released Bellingham Soundcheck webisode, Specters have been hard at work and will be releasing their EP Dec. 1 at make.shift with Candysound and one of my favorite out of town bands, including the best bassist in braces, SEACATS!

Eclecticity has unleashed their new record Positive Peace and currently letting people try before they buy for the next few days. If you miss the window for this take the plunge, this group is really gelling and this album shows it.

Leatherhorn will be releasing a long awaited album at the end of the month, look out for a release show metal heads!
Black Tommy put out their full length Hail Satan! on Shepherd Boy Records. This album was two years in the making for the group and it shows. They note, as it is important to note that they are in no way affiliated with Satan.

Spectropol Records released Whatcom Weird Vol. 1 with proclaimed “adventurous music” on Halloween (some tracks are yes, spooky). This is a huge group of local artists; Falling Up Stairs, Pan Pan, Kat Bula, Zach Zinn, Mindmeld to name a few who are a seriously cool collective. Give it a listen it would make a cool soundtrack for just about anything.

Palisades have been a tease for a while now. I’ll keep referencing them in here in hopes they’ll feel peer pressure to release their music, their Facebook alludes to new old music and perhaps new, new music? Either way, we’re excited. For now, hang on to your blue balls.

Out on Tour

Dog Shredder is currently on tour with Dysrhythmia, supporting their most recent release Test of Submission, making it from Vancouver to Albuquerque. Recently Redefine Magazine gave them probably the coolest title a Bellingham band has received in a while, “the most exciting loud band I’ve seen come up in the Pacific Northwest over the last several years,” I suppose for some it holds more weight when they say it…but we were thinking it all along?

Robert Sarazin Blake hit the trails up in the Yukon with CR Avery and will be returning home to us in November…word on the street is he’ll have some tales to tell.

Electronic outfit Odesza announced a few tour dates later this month with Seattle (and a bit of Bellingham) act Beat Connection. This act has blown up with 16,000 downloads of their album. I don’t know if the internet has desensitized you to large numbers but this is huge!

 Friends in New Places

What’s Up! is a local publication, something our fearless editor Brent recently pointed out on the web. It’s important to note that What’s Up is responsible for Bellingham based groups defined by one or more members living in Bellingham. Having stated this I’d like to make a few honorable mentions from our friends who have recently made new homes with their Bellingham-based outfits, this won’t always pop up in What’s Up! but there were a few recently worth a mention.

The Comettes (Timmy Sunshine & the Conductors, The Royal Sea, The Commettes) recently played a few tour dates with Lumineers whose record just made it platinum. The birth of this friendship occurred about a year ago at the Chuckanut Ridge Winery, where the played a couple shows together. This should be reason enough to get your butt down to the Redlight on a regular basis.

Baltic Cousins released an awesome music video for “Never Hold Your Breath” and have been woo-ing the Seattle folks. We wish we could still call them our own, at least in their video Deming gets some plugs. They also released some of their pre-Baltic Cousins demos that are worth having a look at for free on their band camp. (Rabia still lives in Bellingham, but, the band is now based out of Seattle).

Around the Town

There was a little something extra in the Green Frog monthly newsletter this month and I think it was very eloquently stated by James Hardesty himself that concert goers in this town need to revisit concert attendance 101. If you make the trek from progressive wells into a bar that is also featuring entertainment please, for the love of god take a second to recognize where you are and pay respect to not only the artist as well as others enjoying the show.

Wild Buffalo finally buckled down and got the one thing they’ve been missing…a very organized lady! Sarah Hall, one of the Summer Meltdown Festival Directors, has joined the Buffalo team as production manager. Cheers to Sarah, my hope is that she shares my knack for punctuality!

The Pickford is showing a one night only re-release of the first Rolling Stones documentary ever made, Charlie My Darling, Monday Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. This is completely restored for their 50th anniversary as a band (I’m still trying to wrap my young brain around this one) and includes a bunch of cool extras.

Comings & Goings

Last issue I spoke of Shit Machine’s last show and is once again being proved in a Bellingham manner that they will strike again for one last last time! Rumor (or a facebook event) has it; it’s going to be a big ol’ party this time so gear up for it. Advance notice given, shed your last Shit Machine tears Dec. 2 at the Shakedown.

Bad Tenants have relocated to Seattle. This is a hard working trio of dudes and it’s a sad day in Bellingham hip-hop to see them go. They are on the “Kinda Like Us Tour” with Bellingham’s Triceracorn, and a few Seattle folks making their way to Las Vegas in the make.shift Magic Van next month with their new release. Good luck!

End Notes

What’s Up!’s 15th Birthday bash in March is bound to be a big one with shows all over town. In a “hey internet I just got a girlfriend” like fashion Brent posted about Black Eyes and Neckties playing a reunion show for the anniversary March 1 at the Shakedown. Put it in your day-timers kids. Be on the lookout for more announcements of this variety. We may make you sweat a little next time.

I once had a neighbor named Sandy, and when I heard rumblings of Hurricane Sandy from my Twitter feed, she is who came to mind. By no means does this association make light of the events that followed. My sentiments go out to our friends and family on the East Coast, I hope for a speedy recovery. Another hurricane I’ve avoided while being here is election season and the chaos that ensued after George Lucas sold the rights for Star Wars to Disney.

Terrible things happening in the states aside, I’ve learned a few things from Iceland that could perhaps lend itself to Bellingham. This city wide festival is a celebration of all things local put together by Iceland Music Export. An overwhelming number of Icelandic artists (my guess is all local artists) are featured across the city in venues mostly the size of the Shakedown or smaller, with only a sprinkling of national acts, most of which are local acts from other places. I’ve heard that there are geographic reasons for the attitude here, as an island their exploration is heightened, both as fans of music and as musicians. I would encourage more exploration of our local scene, outside of your friends’ band (I’m terribly guilty of this) and seeing music for the sake of seeing something new. Celebrating our own scene will only increase bragging rights for the town and therefore our egos will all benefit greatly.

Takk and Bless Bless!


This is what I look like in Iceland.